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Sybase builds ladder with mobility and database sales

Sybase CEO John Chen looks to construct a ladder built on database and mobility sales.

Sybase CEO John Chen is looking to build a ladder.

But before you hand the guy a hammer, try driving over a truckload of shims. You see, one side of Chen's ladder is his core $700 million in database sales, the other side is a mere $300 million in mobility sales.

Get the picture?

"I want to build a ladder with two comparable businesses, worth $800 million each," an enthusiastic Chen exclaimed the other day, during an interview after Sybase posted stronger than expected second quarter results.

So, as Chen checks out the local M&A hardware store, he has a general idea of which aisles to check out.

For starters, he's looking to expand his iAnywhere mobile middleware software stack, with such potential goodies as authentication security software, or GPS, to name a few.

And while he's in the mobility section, he also wants to peruse down the aisle that offers up items to foster Sybase's application enhancement platform efforts. No, Sybase isn't shopping for mobility applications, but rather platform software from which mobility applications can be distributed to customers.

Chen is no stranger to shopping around for mobility buys. Last September, Sybase announced plans to buy messaging company Mobile 365, which it now operates as its messaging unit Sybase 365. Together, Sybase 365 and iAnywhere comprise that side of the ladder Chen is looking to grow.

And what does he expect to accomplish as he builds this ladder and perches from its highest rung?

"Connecting enterprise customers," says Chen. "I need to have a way to tie mobile messaging back into my core enterprise customers."