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Sybase to eliminate division, jobs

Sybase is closing its New Media division and laying off employees.

Sybase confirmed today that it is closing its New Media division, laying off some employees, and ridding itself of three of its less than successful products.

The company did not specify the number of employees expected to lose their jobs but said it would be fewer than 100. Last week, Sybase reported a loss of $24 million and announced plans to eliminate 600 jobs, or about 10 percent of its work force, in the coming months.

Sybase is negotiating the sale to an unnamed party of two of the New Media division's products, Intermedia Server, a video server under development, and the New Media Studio multimedia development tool. Media.splash, a Web multimedia tool, will be eliminated altogether. Sybase will expand existing partnerships with Netscape Communications and other firms to license similar products, a company representative said.

Analysts said the shutdown is a step in the right direction for the beleaguered database maker. "It's a smart move. There are better third-party products--and shareware--on the market than what Sybase had to offer," said Evan Bauer, vice president at The Giga Group in Westport, Connecticut.

A company representative dismissed rumors of a possible takeover of Sybase by competitors. Sybase officials maintain that the company will remain independent but will partner with other vendors for "non-core" technologies.

"The stock is low enough that if you believe they will rebound they would be an attractive acquisition target," Bauer said. "But it's hard to see who would gain from the acquisition."

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