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A Munich-based company that provides secure "social networking" for business has just been snapped up by German enterprise software giant SAP.

Crossgate offers a social networking setup for its customers, along with secure communications channels that allow users to transfer documents and data.

Users can join the network, set up Facebook-style business "profiles" and hook up with trading partner "friends"; the company claims this eliminates the need for costly point-to-point integration when handling sensitive information.

Crossgate touts its e-invoicing services as an "innovative and secure solution" covering the entire process of inbound and outbound invoices, including signatures and compliance-monitoring, which is integrated with its customers' back-end systems and finance processes.

Peter Maier, general manager and head of Line of Business Solutions, SAP, outlined the advantages of the buy-out for SAP's customers:

Companies live in an evolving global network of customers and partners, and technology from Crossgate allows them to interact in new ways at the enterprise level the same way that social networking has transformed the way people interact as individuals.

Crossgate serves 3,000 customers in North America, Europe and the Middle East through offices in the United States, Germany, UK, France and Italy. ®

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