Mobile and wireless products boost Sybase Q4

Sybase has reported a profit for its fourth-quarter which is down year on year. However it managed to beat Wall Street...

Sybase has reported a profit for its fourth-quarter which is down year on year. However it managed to beat Wall Street expectations thanks to a solid performance from its mobile and wireless products division.

The company's iAnywhere Solutions subsidiary, which makes mobile and wireless products for accessing corporate databases on the road, recorded its strongest revenue and operating profit to date, said John Chen, the company's chairman, president and chief executive officer. He described the quarter's performance as "solid".

Excluding some costs and expenses, net income for the quarter ended 31 December 2001, was £22m, down from £32m a year earlier.

Revenue for the quarter was £166m, compared to fourth-quarter revenue of £183m in 2001, Sybase said.

Sybase has been branching out from its core database business and into new markets for Internet-related business software. Its database and tools contributed approximately 75% to revenue this quarter, with the remainder coming from iAnywhere and from Sybase's business software products, such as its application server. That is down from 90% about four years ago, Chen said.

Sybase hopes to continue that trend, drawing as much as 50% of revenue from non-database products in three to four years, Chen said. The database business is saturated in most parts of the world and e-business software offers bigger growth potential, he said. Oracle, which leads the database market, has also been looking to applications and other businesses for faster growth.

While Sybase's larger rivals have aligned themselves with particular technology platforms, Sybase's strategy is to remain neutral and not favour one development environment over another.

However, Chen said he is keen on using Java because of the potential for Microsoft to make .net a "proprietary" technology, meaning customers would have to buy Microsoft software in order to build .net applications.

"I see with .net a potential for Microsoft to become proprietary, and being an open systems company and wanting to have a piece of the pie, I will vote for Java before .net. But I will still support both," he said.

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