Sybase: 25B Mobile Messages in '06

A few days after its parent company reported record results for 2006, mobile messaging carrier Sybase 365 said today it delivered a whopping 25 billion MMS and SMS messages worldwide in 2006 -- nearly double the total for 2005.

Named Mobile 365 until its acquisition last year by enterprise database software maker Sybase Inc. , Sybase 365 says it is the world's largest interoperator handler of SMS and MMS messages, delivering more than 50 billion messages since its network went live in 2001.

The 25 billion figure "reflects the remarkable growth of the mobile messaging market," said Sybase 365 president Marty Beard in a statement. The company expects the mobile messaging market to hit $7.5 billion by 2008.

Overwhelmed in the mid-1990s by Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL), Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), and IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) in its core business, enterprise databases, Sybase has recovered under CEO John Chen by focusing on mobility. The Dublin, Calif. company acquired Mobile 365 for $397 million in a transaction that closed last November, and says its mobile messaging unit now delivers 3.5 billion messages per month. Total Sybase revenue rose 7 percent in 2006, to $876 million -- and Chen expects to cross the $1 billion line this year.

"We are now the world's largest mobile enterprise software and services provider," says Chen.

While revenue from mobile messaging made up only 7 percent of Sybase's total revenue for the fourth quarter, mobility lies at the heart of the company's strategy. In December the company released its "Information Anywhere Suite," a comprehensive mobility platform for enterprises that integrates the company's Afaria and OneBridge solutions for mobile email and messaging.

The market upside is substantial. Earlier this month research group Aberdeen Group released a report -- funded by Good Technology Inc. and Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) -- that found that, while more than two-thirds of the companies surveyed use two more mobile messaging applications, many of them lack a platform, like iAnywhere, that unifies all mobile messaging apps.

Since dipping below $20 last summer, Sybase's share price has risen 33 percent.

— Richard Martin, Senior Editor, Unstrung

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