SAP recently announced an equity investment in Red Hat Software, a distributor of the Linux open-source OS.
The investment will be made by the SAP Venture Capital Fund, a unit of SAP that provides funding to companies with promising technologies, according to Howard Lau, executive vice president of the Venture Fund.
Lau would not give the exact amount, but said it is several million dollars, representing less than a 10 per cent share of Red Hat.
The investment was not motivated by SAP's announcement last month that it would support Linux with its flagship enterprise resource planning applications, Lau said. The SAP Venture Capital Fund's investments have the primary purpose of raising money for SAP and secondary priorities of setting up strategic alignments with potential partners or suppliers of technology, he added.
Lau said the venture fund recognises that Linux is growing at an almost exponential rate and that Red Hat is a well-managed company with a stable and popular product.
SAP is the latest in a string of large companies to support Red Hat. Compaq, Computer Associates, IBM, Novell and Oracle also have recently provided financial support to Red Hat.
The SAP Venture Capital Fund is looking at more investments in business-to-business Internet commerce, Lau added.