Ailing relational database supplier Sybase is on the way back, according to its new chief executive Mitch Kertzman, but as a more focused company that knows it will never be a great power in the software industry.
Kertzman, speaking at the European Sybase User Conference in Barcelona last week, before the company posted third quarter losses of $52.6 million (#32.9 million), was candid in his analysis of what had gone wrong for the developer, once seen as the biggest threat to Oracle's dominance in the database market.
"We lost our way and our sense of direction," he said. "Sybase was a fast-growing company and we were virtually within grasp of the number one slot. But over the two years, there has been no cohesive message from the company. We became too focused on Oracle and were led into unsuitable markets.
"Today Sybase and Informix are so close that you could make a case for either being number two or number three," he added. "There are great powers developing in the industry - IBM, Microsoft and Oracle. Sybase is not a great power and will never be."
Kertzman admitted the company's image had been badly damaged by System 10, a flawed version of the company's core database product suite, but insisted System 11 will erase memories of that.
Sybase's third quarter loss compared to profits of $1.1 million (#688,000) last year. For the nine months, the company made losses of $84.1 million, as against losses of $25.5 million the year before. The quarterly figures included a one-time charge of $49.2 million, including $17 million for severance pay and $13.9 million for aborted product lines. Revenues for the three months increased slightly from $145.9 million to $147.2 million.
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