Sybase adds to mobile range

Mobile 365 buy gives firm extra messaging technology

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By  Published  September 22, 2006

Enterprise software provider Sybase has acquired mobile messaging firm Mobile 365 in a move that it claims will make it the leading provider of mobile messaging and content delivery in the world.

It bought the mobile data firm for US$425 million in an all-cash deal this month.

Based in Virginia, US, Mobile 365 delivers mobile data and messaging, premium content and value-added services for mobile operators, content providers, global brands, media companies and financial institutions worldwide. Its corporate client list includes Skype, Volvo, MSN and Citibank.

The firm, which is backed by a consortium of venture capital companies, provides mobile interoperability messaging, including SMS, WAP, MMS and instant messaging.

It claims to deliver more than three billion messages per month and has some 700 connections into mobile operators including Vodafone, T-Mobile and Telefonica.

“This acquisition extends our Unwired Enterprise vision with the addition of two new enterprise channels — wireless carriers and content providers — making Sybase the leading mobile enterprise software and services provider in the world,” John Chen, Sybase chairman, CEO and president, said in a statement announcing the deal.

The purchase will enable Sybase to better position itself for predicted expansion in the mobile messaging market, Chen said. “The mobile messaging market in the US alone is expected to grow US$7.5 billion by 2008,” he added. “Getting closer to this exploding mobile market through carriers is a key extension of our Unwired Enterprise strategy.

Mobile 365 brings unparalleled breadth and depth of carrier relationships and the largest mobile messaging and content delivery platform, solidly positioning Sybase between carriers, global brands and mobile content.”

However, analyst firm Gartner warned that Sybase will need this breadth to survive consolidation as firms look to reduce the number of mobile software vendors they deal with.

“To multiply its strength in mobile, rather than to incrementally add revenue, Sybase must take a hard look at its organisational structure and portfolio,” Gartner said in an online advisory this month.

Gartner noted that Sybase plans to offer AvantGo services to complement the messaging services that Mobile 365 already provides, which will, it said, improve its competitive position.

“This would improve Sybase’s ability to compete directly with multi-channel access gateway (MAG) vendors such as IBM and Antenna Software, which also offer hosted services and thin-client mobile application servers for carriers,” the analyst firm said.

Founded in 1984 as a developer of enterprise databases, Sybase has been gradually expanding into the mobile segment by acquiring mobile firms. Its acquisition of Mobile 365 is its fifth acquisition within the mobile market during the past four years.

Once the deal closes, Mobile 365 will operate as a subsidiary company, Sybase Mobile 365.

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