Informix faces uphill struggle

Informix will need to cover some tough terrain if it's to get back on its feet and recover from poor financials and the loss of its chairman, according to its database market rivals.

"It was the shortest tenure in history wasn't it?" said Sybase general manager Colin Penwick referring to the departure of Informix chairman Phil White, who quit the company yesterday.

"It tended to indicate that he uncovered stuff that was previously unknown and that the results were worse than expected," added Penwick. "Something had to give and the board obviously decided to act quickly." White's departure came just three months after Informix announced a $140 million loss and days before the company is expected to announce another loss.

"It's a case of a company which has over-stretched itself but there is also a fundamental issue that the market cannot obviously accommodate a pure database company. We've expanded our product range and we agree with Ovum that middleware is a vital market now."

Penwick added that Informix is currently going through a similar situation to the one that Sybase went through about a year ago. "Informix's situation is deeper though," he said, "and we will probably see a re-focusing and re-scaling of its business. We can relate to that."