Sybase Earnings Bounce Back

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2003-07-23 Print this article Print

Vendor says customer interest in its mobile technologies drove a increase.

Sybase Inc. dragged itself out of its first-quarter slump. On Wednesday the company said that second-quarter 2003 revenues of $192 million—including license fees of $63.9 million—exceeded First Call consensus revenue estimates of $186.5 million. Net income was $14.6 million, with earnings per share of 16 cents. Even though the quarter showed revived business compared with the years first quarter, Sybase profitability is lagging compared with a year ago. Net income for the second quarter of 2002 was $20.2 million, with earnings per share of 21 cents. Chairman, President and CEO John Chen credited both emboldened customers and growth in the companys mobile, wireless and Wi-Fi businesses for the quarter-to-quarter business pickup. "We are encouraged by our second-quarter results," said Chen, in a statement. "An increasing number of customers are exploring new IT projects and initiatives involving Sybase, which gives us good reason to be optimistic. Were particularly excited about the strength in our mobile and wireless business and our new Wi-Fi initiatives."
But during the question-and-answer portion of a call with analysts, Chen admitted that he just didnt know whether or when the slide in year-over-year profitability would recover. "I dont know whether it will or wont continue," he said.
But business was brisk at the Dublin, Calif., companys iAnywhere Solutions Inc. subsidiary—which churns out mobile technology. Business was up 17 percent over the first quarter and 15 percent over year-ago figures. Chen pointed to a number of product releases and new relationships that account for this. One of the big deals in the mobile arena for Sybase is that Microsoft Corp. announced last month that it is putting support for Sybases AvantGo application into its upcoming PocketPC update so that when users of devices such as Hewlett-Packard Co.s iPaq bring up their home screens, theyll behold an AvantGo button. That will be a big win for AvantGo, although it scarcely needs it—the application already has some 9 million users, Chen said. During the recently completed quarter, Sybase also rolled out SQL Anywhere Studio 9, a mobile database featuring support for Macintosh computers—a platform Sybase has been enthusiastically pursuing of late—as well as enhanced Web services and .NET functionality and an index consultant designed to speed development time. Speaking of databases, Sybases flagship ASE (Adaptive Server Enterprise) enterprise database "surprisingly" gained some strength during the second quarter, Chen said during the analyst call. ASE business was up 18 percent over the first quarter and 6 percent over year-ago figures. "Very interesting," Chen said in an interview with eWeek Online. "For the longest time, everybody was saying the database market was slow, the growth was slow, and the pricing is extremely competitive. Then, I thought that was by and large quite true. Especially when the economys bad and people arent building new applications, they dont need a new database. "But most of our new database customers were secured overseas over the past few quarters, in particular in China. "We thought that in China, with SARS and all that, the whole database business wasnt necessarily going down very rapidly, but it wouldnt jump up. But we see substantial year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter growth."

Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel