SAP’s $5.8 billion acquisition of Sybase, announced on May 12, marks a major shift in the enterprise-software landscape. First and foremost, it will likely allow
SAP to stay competitive with Oracle through new revenue
streams and a larger technology portfolio. But the acquisition of Sybase, one of its strategic partners, also allows
SAP to consolidate and expand its mobile offerings, where
some analysts have seen the company as lacking.
“On first glance, this is clearly a strength-to-weakness
deal. SAP’s annual sales and its market cap are both [more
than 10] times the size of Sybase’s,” Pund-IT Research
analyst Charles King wrote in a May 13 research note.
“While SAP develops and delivers a wide range of enterprise
business software solutions, Sybase’s offerings are skewed
toward the global mobile market, where the company’s data-
base solutions support SMS [Short Message Service] mes-
Furthermore, King added, “Sybase’s strong presence
in global mobile telephony offers intriguing opportuni-
ties for SAP to further leverage and extend its business
solutions.” That could become essential as the mobile
market continues to evolve. “Given the exploding interest
in smartphones, tablets and other handheld computing
devices, this qualifies as a classic no-brainer,” he wrote.
SAP clearly sees mobile computing, cloud computing
and on-premises enterprise resource management applications as the primary underpinnings of its business in
both the short and long term. The deal itself was negotiated, apparently, as part of a merger agreement signed
by SAP America, the organization’s U.S. subsidiary, with
Sybase selling at $65 per share—a 44 percent premium
over the company’s average stock price last quarter.
The acquisition highlights the increasing premium
placed on mobile technology in the enterprise. “Mobile
devices are becoming the preferred interaction point with
business applications,” Jim Hagemann Snabe, co-CEO of
SAP and a member of the SAP executive board, wrote in
a statement announcing the acquisition.
The Sybase acquisition gives SAP access to the former’s mobile middleware Unwired Platform, in addition to
a host of mobile management, security and smartphone
secure-client technologies. Sybase also offers capabilities
in large-scale, real-time data analytics and a track record
in mobilizing enterprise apps.
SAP’S SYBASE ACQUISITION
SHOWS A STRONG MOBILITY PLAY
REMEMBERING ROY MARK
IN MEMORY OF
In May, e WEEK lost one of our own. Roy Mark, a senior staff writer and e WEEK’s Washington bureau chief, died after a
battle with cancer. He was 59.
Roy’s career in journalism started in his home state
of Texas. After earning a degree
from the University of Texas at
Austin, Roy worked first as a
sports writer and then moved to
news. After working at the Austin
Citizen, he became the editor of
the Westlake Picayune. Later, he
founded and edited the Texas
Real Estate Report.
After a move to Washington,
D.C., Roy wrote for several
prominent tech publications,
including internetnews.com, and focused on how gov-
ernment policy shaped the IT market. He joined e WEEK
in 2007 as the Washington bureau chief.
Roy was, as a former colleague put it, a “
dyed-in-the-wool newspaperman” who enjoyed hearing and telling a
good story. In the evenings, Roy could be found at one of
his favorite haunts in Washington. He loved baseball and
had developed an affinity for the Washington Nationals.
To the end, Roy remained a Texas gentleman. His good
humor, reporter’s insight and charming personality will be
missed by all those who knew him.
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