RealTime IT News

Sybase Gains More Middle With MMS Buy

Sybase took a big step toward its "Unwired Enterprise" strategy today, announcing a partnership with Cable & Wireless that makes Sybase a top mobile middleware middleman.

The partnership gives the messaging software provider's mobile division exclusive worldwide rights to market and sell services for mobile data roaming. At the same time, Sybase's purchase of Cable & Wireless' international MMS Hubbing service for an undisclosed amount provides Sybase (NYSE: SY) peering deals with 40 customers and 250 mobile operators.

"This is a significant move for us into the mobile IP world and makes us an end-to-end platform for mobile enterprises," Marty Beard, president of Sybase 365, told InternetNews.com. Sybase 365 was formed in 2006 with the acquisition of Mobile 365 for $400 million. Sybase 365 currently reaches more than 2.4 billion global mobile users and processes over 100 billion messages annually.

The news comes at a time when enterprise mobility is grabbing greater traction as companies strive to extend desktop messaging functions to mobile workers. Text messaging in particular is considered a must have feature on mobile devices, according to a recent study from Amplitude Research.

The Cable & Wireless deals make Sybase the largest GPRS Roaming Exchange (GRX) provider. A GRX is a centralized IP routing network for mobile operators that subscribers roam across multiple operators to access enterprise network data services.

Put simply, Sybase 365 will serve as an interconnect, delivering multimedia mobile messaging between an enterprise's network provider and mobile device users, said Beard.

"This is a pretty important move for us into the IP space. Every enterprise is relying on messaging to reach customers and users and we'll be able to provide the platform for multimedia messaging applications," Beard said.

For example a large bank aiming to reach clients about a new service can send a text message or video clip directly to customer handsets no matter what carrier or network provider is involved. Sybase 365 is connected to all 700 global providers, according to Beard.

"We sit in the middle and make it happen," said Beard. "Companies could go to each carrier to establish such network connections but we take away all that complexity."

Prior to the Mobile 365 acquisition two years ago, Sybase purchased mobile software maker Extended Systems for $71.3 million to provide enterprises desktop PC access via handset devices.

The deals are part of CEO John Chen's "Unwired Enterprise" strategy aimed at helping businesses advance a wireless evolution.

"Messaging is the convergent platform for enterprise applications and a core part of our Unwired Enterprise strategy. Now, enterprises will be able to offer their customers access to all types of information anytime, anywhere, across any carrier network through a single platform only offered by Sybase," Chen said in a press release.