Nine months after taking over as full-time solo chief executive officer at database maker Sybase, John Chen still has an uphill climb. Although profits are up, quarterly revenues slipped from last year's $US217.8 million to $210 million this quarter, while Sybase lost database server market share. And database rivals Oracle, IBM, Microsoft and Informix have all unveiled new database releases.
This is what Chen had to say after the company's earnings release.
On Sybase's new database, to be released in October:
I'm making sure that it's enterprise-ready for e-business. My e-business database strategy is keyed to high availability and reliability geared to Web-based and dynamic content, with features including built-in automatic retry. The entire database will be written in Java, including Java's Enterprise Beans concept, so all data types can be represented in the database. We're also partnering with Tibco Software for messaging capabilities.
On Sybase's quarterly revenue slip:
Among my goals this year are to continue profitability and generate both earnings momentum and cash, which would allow us to grow more next year. I said this year revenue would be mostly flat, because it would take time to get sales channels fully going. The slip in revenue this quarter wasn't alarming because we've moved a lot of people into divisions and have done a lot of cross-training to jump-start channels.
Also a lot of my big financial-services customers have been preoccupied with their year 2000 testing and certification. We also had a $3 million to $4 million revenue impact due to exchange rates and the strong US dollar because we do a lot of business in Europe.
On Sybase's forthcoming enterprise information portal (EIP) strategy:
[In August] we will announce our EIP strategy, which will stress the strengths of our middleware and our replication technology, our gateway technologies and our connectivity capabilities.
On optimising for SAP AG applications:
We don't currently have a database version optimised for SAP. We're in ongoing discussions with them, but we haven't yet come together.