Thursday, June 29, 2006

iAnywhere Bundles Up

Unstrung writes about Sybase's (SY) launch of its new iAnywhere suite into a mobile software market that's in a state of flux. The article notes the "major players like Microsoft (MSFT), Nokia (NOK), Research In Motion (RIMM) and Sybase are trying to expand beyond their mobile email or management roots and offer more integrated packages to corporate users."

Sybase's new iAnywhere Suite "brings together its mobile email, security, management, and development tools in "a modular package" for the first time," which the company claims "will make it easier for users to manage mobile devices and applications across the enterprise."

Jack Gold at J.Gold Associates said, "Oracle has been going through the same pains with all of its acquisitions. Intellisync/Nokia have used the same basic argument in its marketing for mobile middleware, although I don't think it offers the same level of capability as does iAnywhere. RIM has already started moving down this path, with MDC built on top of BES [BlackBerry Exchange Server]. It will likely add more components in the future."

Ellen Daley at Forrester Research said, "I think it is good that they did this, as many companies were confused on how to buy and use them." She explained that Sybase had "a lot of disparate stuff."

Daley added, "I actually see this demand as very spotty -- some types of companies want this, but with existing software vendors extending their products out in a mobile way, application vendors like Siebel and endpoint management vendors like Altiris, I don’t see very high demand for this. But this is the old debate about mobile middleware in general all the way back from 2000 when VCs invested tons of money in companies like Brience and Everypath, and they did not go anywhere."

Commenting on iAnywhere's modular approach, Gold said, "Most companies do not buy complete mobile middleware suites right off the bat. They are more interested in buying point solutions to fill their needs. What iAnywhere is trying to do is, say, buy only the components you need, but when you are ready to expand to other components, it will be easy because they are all integrated and built on the same framework."

On Sybase's overall corporate direction, Rob Enderle at the Enderle Group opined, "Sybase is struggling to find relevance in a market literally dominated now by Oracle and where even Microsoft and IBM may be somewhat trivialized."

I try to follow as many mobile analysts as possible, and those talking about the mobile enterrpise mostly stick to commenting on handsets and email. A lot less is said about mobile enterprise software. From a vendor perspective, no one is really stepping up as a thought/market leader in this space, which makes the above analyst quotes on Sybase's iAnywhere suite even more telling.

Could it be only time before the enterprise app giants such as SAP
and Oracle (with Microsoft too) come to dominate the mobile enterprise space as well. Will one of the SaaS players like join them? Over the last 10 years we've seen a countless number of software vendors rise and then mostly fall, while SAP and Oracle get bigger and bigger. It'll be hard to bet against them once their apps go mobile, since there seems to be not much standing in their way...