SAP exec reminds the world that Microsoft is a customer

IT industry doesn't always have the stomach for its own dog food


Updated Editor's note: The article here was intended to poke fun at Microsoft for using SAP software given that the Windows giant offers Dynamics 365 and is famous for eating its own dog food. However, as so many of you have pointed out, it's public knowledge that Microsoft has been a customer of SAP for decades, and that dog fooding goes back to the late 1980s and Windows NT development days, and refers to using an OS to craft and build that OS, rather than the situation in which Microsoft uses SAP.

In fact, virtually all tech companies use a mix of their own software and that of their rivals.

We've taken your feedback on-board to improve our coverage in future, removed the article from our archive, and preserved the piece below for posterity's sake. Thanks for your thoughts.


Sometimes vendors struggle to see the world as it really is – complex, messy, and for the most part filled with technology that so often falls short of its initial promise.

It was revealing, then, when Microsoft admitted that it is, in fact, reliant on software from another vendor.

Despite being a supplier of a suite of enterprise software under the Dynamics 365 banner which, the world-dominating software octopus says, "empowers your organisation to deliver operational excellence and delight every customer", Microsoft is an SAP user.

The fact slipped out, one assumes not by accident, during a virtual fireside chat this month between SAP chief financial officer Luka Mucic and Adam Wood of investment bank Morgan Stanley.

The German software company's work with the DOS inventor on developing collaboration software Teams for SAP would "amplify for the benefit of both companies" bringing "a seamless interaction".

Then, considering the issue of colluding with the competition in business applications, Mucic went on to say: "Thinking about Dynamics: it's more a solution that is geared toward the mid-market. Microsoft itself is actually running on SAP for their own internal operations. And I think that there is a much bigger fish to fry here…"

Quizzed by The Register, a Microsoft spokeswoman said: "Microsoft uses its own Dynamics 365 as well as a wide range of business applications from other vendors, including SAP."

The incident probes the particularly sticky issue of dog fooding.

The origins of the phrase are apocryphal but may or may not relate to the president of Kal Kan Pet Food offering to eat his produce in front of a shareholders' meeting.

Its migration into tech jargon may well have begun with Microsoft, of all companies, when 1988 manager Paul Maritz sent Brian Valentine, test manager for Microsoft LAN Manager, an email titled "Eating our own dog food", challenging him to increase internal usage of the company's product.

Whatever the origin, American English has decided to turn the lexical car-crash into a verb and hence dog fooding was born.

Examples of dog fooding, or lack thereof, are not limited to Microsoft. Bill McDermott, CEO of workflow specialist ServiceNow, revealed on a conference call last month that his "wonderful former company SAP" just went live on ServiceNow.

SAP made the move "with customer service management and ITSMs because they know that the IT backbone is mission critical in making sure the customer satisfaction, the net promoter score and the retention is rock solid," McDermott opined.

This is despite the fact that SAP has its own workflow management technology which it sells as part of its Business Technology Platform.

Given the interwoven histories of the majority of tech vendors, it seems like the dog fooding question is one that will never really go away. At this point, The Register cannot resist the proposition of getting all the industry's CEOs together in a secret location to have them feed each other their own dog food in some kind of heinously unpalatable circle jerk you will struggle to erase from your mind. ®

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