Despite Revenue Shortfall, Sybases Chen Optimistic

Despite a $20 million shortfall in 1Q revenues, President and CEO John Chen says Sybase is doing "tremendously well."

Despite an earnings report that showed Sybase Inc. revenues in the first quarter of 2003 fell short of expectations by $20 million, plus an earlier IDC report that showed that the companys role in the RDBMS market is shrinking, President and CEO John Chen told eWEEK that Sybase is doing "tremendously well," pointing out that share prices were up 68 cents following the earnings report.

Still, IDC in March released a report that found that Sybases already small share in the RDBMS (relational database management system) market slipped even further in 2002. The company took in RDBMS software revenue of about $464 million in 2002, accounting for a mere 3.6 percent of the $12.7 billion market. That was down 6.3 percent from its 2001 share of $495 million, IDC found.

At the heart of Sybases RDBMS woes is the companys dependence on large enterprise sales, the report said. It also claimed that Sybase is "suffering from a decline in credibility in the marketplace due to a general perception that Sybase no longer provides leadership in the RDBMS space."

In an interview following Thursdays earning conference with media and analysts, Chen challenged those assertions, pointing out that Sybase is doing well in other markets besides that of RDBMS.

"On the lower end and medium-size market, were doing tremendously well," said Chen, in Dublin, Calif. "On the mobile end and embedded systems end, we own 73 percent of the market. … so the answer to IDC is theyre looking at just one corner of the market."

Chen attributed much of Sybases ongoing profitability to the companys database efforts—particularly, in the realm of mobile and embedded databases.