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At TechWave, Sybase's Chen Promises No Products Left Behind

At Sybase's annual user conference, CEO John Chen promised not just that no products would be killed, but that there would be new, interesting innovation resulting from new parent company, SAP.

Sybase's 40,000 customers don't need to worry about that the products they rely upon will suddenly disappear in the new SAP era, Sybase CEO John Chen said Monday.

"There are no roadmap changes at all," Chen said at Sybase's annual TechWave user conference in Washington D.C. Chen also said that price hikes are not on the horizon, and that he plans to stay on to lead Sybase as long as possible.

This goes for Sybase's products in every one of its three major product and services lines: data management and analytics, tools and mobility, said Chen.

For instance, users of Sybase's longtime development and design tools, PowerBuilder and PowerDesigner, should take heart that Sybase "is very serious in taking [those products] to the next level," he said.

Instead, there is tremendous upside and opportunity, said Chen. SAP and Sybase engineering teams are working together things like porting Adaptive Server Enterprise to support SAP's flagship ERP application.

"Oracle is going to get hurt," he said. "We will have Oracle customers who will want to move to ASE."

The two firms are also working on making Sybase IQ to run with Business Objects' Business Intelligence software. Similarly, there has been discussion to integrate PowerDesigner and PowerBuilder with SAP's apps, as well as Sybase's Replication Server.

More details will be coming on August 19th, when Chen joins SAP at an analyst and media event in Boston.

Chen did acknowledge that there is overlap that needs to be sorted out. The most obvious is in the area of databases. Sybase boasts 4: ASE, Sybase IQ, SQL Anywhere and Advantage Database Server. SAP, though not as well known for data management, has three databases of its own, including an in-memory database. The two companies are "committed to an unified roadmap," he said.

On pricing, Chen said there is "no intention to raise" Sybase's software prices. He said Sybase used to be about 10-15% below competitors, and is now on par today. "We don't intend to go above that," he said, joking that there has been more discussion with SAP about Sybase's new corporate logo than about pricing.

Chen said said that barring a phone call from President Obama, he plans to continue running Sybase under SAP's ownership.

"I'm not going to run out of here," he said.

Chen asked the approximately 750 attendees of this year's TechWave whether they preferred to keep the conference separate or have it absorbed as part of SAP's SAPPHIRE or TechEd conferences. The audience was split about 50:50. Chen acknowledged their wishes. But he added that in the long term, it probably makes more sense to have the two conferences run together.