German business software giant SAP has denied claims that it is planning to close its Business By Design software unit, which was established in 2003 in a bid to take SAP's software to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).
However, it has admitted that it plans to cut investment in the software after drumming up considerably fewer sales than anticipated.
The company made the denial after German business weekly Wirtschaftswoche claimed that SAP was planning to discontinue development, although existing customers would still be able to use it.
A SAP spokesman, though, has said that while development would be scaled down, the product would not be discontinued.
Business By Design was conceived in 2003 with the aim of expanding SAP into the SMB market - a notoriously tough and cost-conscious market in which Sage and Microsoft Dynamics stand out, but one in which there are wide national and regional variations.
A finished product, though, was only launched in 2010 after €3bn and seven years of development. However, despite ambitious expectations of 10,000 customers and annual sales of €1bn, it has signed up only 785 customers and is expected to make just €23m in revenues in the current financial year.
According to Wirtschaftswoche, customers have been critical of the product, complaining of technical problems and poor performance.