SAP acquires A2i

German business software vendor SAP has bought the privately held software company A2i, in an effort to broaden the data management capabilities of its NetWeaver platform, the company announced Tuesday.

A2i develops and markets xCat, a platform for product content management and cross-media catalog publishing. One of its most popular products, the Data ManagementA2i xCat, is an enterprise-class catalog system designed to allow a user to easily build, structure and query very large catalogs.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed by the vendor.

Specifically, SAP intends to take A2i's xCat suite and blend it into NetWeaver as SAP Master Data Management (SAP MDM). The updated product will be available to users either late in the third quarter or in the fourth quarter of this year, SAP said.

Improvements that the A2i technology to the NetWeaver product will include improved support for product content management, more powerful data aggregation, improved Web-based electronic catalogs and new functions such as high-performance search, image and document management and print catalog publishing, SAP said.

A2i, founded in 1993, employs engineers in Los Angeles and Israel. In a separate announcement, A2i's President, Paul Weinberg said the company's operations will continue in the same facilities, but now as part of SAP Labs. Any potential lay-offs within A2i were not disclosed. A2i was originally an acronym for "Analog to Interactive," according to the company's Web site.

Current A2i customers include GE Appliances (owned by General Electric), McMaster-Carr Supply (which publishes a catalog containing over 225,000 industrial items), Rubbermaid Commercial Products (owned by Newell Rubbermaid) and Wilson Industries (a provider of parts and supplies to petroleum, refining and industrial customers).

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