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Licensing requirements for SAP NetWeaver Foundation for 3rd Party Applications become more specific

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In April, we reported that despite the stop of all sales activities, the topic of SAP NetWeaver Foundation for 3rd Party Applications (NWF TPA) has not yet been completely dropped. Five months later, the German-speaking SAP user group (DSAG) published news that is a great relief for SAP clients. Not exactly the asap decision SAP promised in April. At least, now they know what they do not have to license and pay for. Although, that’s clearly putting the cart before the horse.

At this point though, we might have to pay our tribute to DSAG. It has been a real quarreling over NetWeaver use, but they managed to wrest some clear wording and concessions from SAP and reduce the space for individual interpretations.

In an email to their members, DSAG has announced on August 4 that a huge step has been taken towards clearly defining the licensing requirements for SAP NetWeaver Foundation for 3rd Party Applications. What follows the news message is a long text with bullet points, sub-points and clarifications. The bottom line is that 3rd party software integrated with an SAP product via an API does not need to be licensed.

But be careful! The exemption from licensing compulsion applies only with regards to the use of NetWeaver technology. The topic of Indirect Access is not yet off the table. Access to and the use of SAP data via 3rd party software which is not based on NetWeaver technology needs to be regulated separately.

In addition, the update by DSAG states that additional developments or add-ons that enhance, improve or reasonably bundle existing functions in SAP, do not need to be licensed either. This also applies to our own tool samQ. The SAM tool helps SAP clients to optimize the distribution of user licenses using standard SAP functionalities.

What needs to be licensed then?
However, there is no satisfactory answer to the question, what is subject to licensing. It seems like both parties have not managed to agree on that yet.

DSAG writes in their update that commercial aspects of  NWF TPA licensing are now defined internally within SAP. SAP will keep up a close communication with DSAG and partners about this topic.

So, we can only remain curious about what is to come. However, with the specific cases published in the DSAG update, the boundaries for additional license claims have been set.  All those clients who have patiently rode out the situation to this point have definitely done right in doing so.