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[Editorial] View from Germany

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By Michael Matzer, Editor, Internet Retailing Germany

In Germany, a number of conferences and events have highlighted the increasing importance of electronic and mobile commerce. In May, major German ERP vendor SAP held its annual customer conference SAPPHIRE simultaneously in Frankfurt/Main and in Orlando, Florida. The big news was that SAP wants to acquire California-based Sybase for $5.8bn.

Sybase used to be a database vendor long ago but has changed its business model completely. It is now a major player in supporting mobile solutions. So, with this acquisition, SAP intends to play a significant role in the future use of mobile solutions and m-commerce. Co-CEO Bill McDermott envisions one billion users of SAP in the near future. And, having moved many of his solutions to the cloud already, among them a full-blown ERP suite, this goal seems not unreachable.

Another conference that granted an enlightening look into the crystal ball was the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) in Hamburg. Supercomputers are being built in a radically different way than a decade ago. Graphical coprocessors, GPUs, are used extensively to enhance parallel processing of software and data. The technological progress made in the GPU market will help online shops and ecommerce in general.

Powerful GPUs, eg by Nvidia, AMD or Intel, are essential to process and deliver any kind of high-resolution image or audio. High density (HD) quality images are rapidly becoming the visual standard on the internet, on PCs, game consoles and on mobile devices as well. Online shoppers will soon expect e-retailers to offer HD quality images and videos not only on product detail pages but also in search result lists. This demand, of course, will put high pressure on any kind of communication infrastructure, but LTE will help the mobile market.

Apple’s iPad tablet computer has been available in Germany since 28 May. It was a hit instantly among the Apple aficionados – living proof of social merchandising. Although it doesn’t offer a USB interface nor Flash videos by Adobe, it will quickly become another platform for mobile commerce, probably primarily for digital documents like newspapers, magazines, web pages, maps and books.

Wave after wave is coming in. Be prepared to surf them.

For a more extensive coverage of these three events, please visit

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