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Most people will associate SYBASE with their database product, which by the way was at the core of the creation of Microsoft SQL Server:
“The code base for MS SQL Server (prior to version 7.0) originated in Sybase SQL Server, and was Microsoft‘s entry to the enterprise-level database market, competing against Oracle, IBM, and, later, Sybase. Microsoft, Sybase and Ashton-Tate originally teamed up to create and market the first version named SQL Server 1.0 for OS/2 (about 1989) which was essentially the same as Sybase SQL Server 3.0 on Unix, VMS, etc.”
However, Sybase has developed an impressive portfolio of mobile services/apps in the last couple of years. Beside being responsible for handling the SMS services for more than 4 billion phones, it also links different message systems of different phone companies. Sybase also is the owner of Afaria, software for remote management of mobile devices.
SAP AG will undoubtedly make their products run on the Sybase database products and as such widen their platform to run SAP ERP software on; but I think that SAP was more interested in the mobile capabilities of Sybase.
“Yvonne Genovese, an analyst at Gartner, described this mobile technology as “a big deal.” Large companies already started to push their standard business software out to mobile phones, and now they are trying to do more with the data that returns from the devices.”
Using the technology and knowhow of Sybase, we will see an extension of SAP in the mobile business arena. They will be able to connect the shop to the office, using the context aware capabilities of mobile devices and extent this into the consumer arena.
Having said all that, it is probably also very necessary to own a database technology in order to make the vision of an “in-memory-database” a reality. This technology has been pitched by Hasso Plattner (co-founder and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of SAP AG), but has been dismissed by Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle Corporation. Mr. Ellison has suggested that SAP does not have the capability to make this vision a reality (and that is just a polite translation of his actual comment – see the video, the question/answer starts at 46:46).
With the acquisition of Sybase, SAP now has an in-house database technology that may help them actually develop this in-memory capability.