After VOICE already filed a cartel complaint against SAP in autumn 2018, the German Federal Association of IT Users held further talks with SAP. VOICE’s goal in these discussions was to regulate so-called indirect use more clearly and thus also to persuade SAP to achieve interoperability with systems of other software providers, which is required by copyright law. The Federal Association sees incalculable risks for the user companies if calculation results from SAP systems result in license costs when used by third-party applications. Due to SAP’s unwillingness to respond appropriately to VOICE’s requirements, the Association has declared the talks to be a failure. The Cartel Office is continuing to pursue the complaint.
Wolfgang Storck, Managing Director of VOICE
Representatives of the Federal Association of IT Users met with representatives of SAP AG for talks several times during the past year. These mainly concerned three requirements that VOICE would like to see fulfilled:
- SAP must acknowledge the applicable copyright law with regard to indirect use/digital access.
- In cases where the copyright law recognizes a use subject to license in the area of digital access, SAP must offer a calculation method that allows the user to calculate the costs of the indirect use subject to license for his use case.
- In the future there will be new cases of indirect use/digital access that are not known today. For these new Use Cases VOICE requires SAP to establish a robust joint procedure between SAP and the respective user to determine within a maximum of three months whether this new Use Case is subject to license. If so, a formula must again be offered that allows the calculation of license costs.
Despite the talks in which VOICE discussed various use cases from the circle of its member companies with SAP, SAP was not prepared to address the interests of the user association. “We therefore have no other choice than to declare the talks currently failed and to wait for the progress of the antitrust proceedings. Obviously SAP is acting according to its own rules here. If SAP again signals its willingness to talk and makes viable compromise proposals, we can resume the talks at any time”, said VOICE Managing Director Wolfgang Storck.
With more than 400 members, VOICE is today the largest representation of digital decision makers of the user side in the German-speaking countries. They represent a cross-section of DAX, MDAX and medium-sized companies. As a network, the Federal Association brings together IT and digital business decision makers of leading companies of different sizes and industries – in formats such as roundtables and professional workshops, but also virtually on an exclusive online platform. VOICE offers its members a competent, attractive and dynamic exchange and knowledge platform from which they personally benefit as well as their corporate IT and digitization projects. In the community, expert information and best practice experiences are discussed and exchanged between decision makers at all levels. The primary goal of VOICE is: To further strengthen the competitiveness of member companies through the use of digital technologies – with targeted exchange on the top issues of digitization and by protecting the interests of the user companies vis-à-vis national and European politics as well as IT providers. VOICE is organized as a registered association with headquarters in Berlin and offices in Cologne, Munich and Hamburg.