PowerBuilder 6.0 on its way

Sybase will next month announce PowerBuilder 6.0, a new version of its database toolkit.

Sybase will next month announce PowerBuilder 6.0, a new version of its database toolkit. Due to be launched at the Powersoft Conference in Los Angeles, held 9-13 August, the initiative will be just one of many as the firm attempts to become a more rounded solutions supplier.

Although Sybase declined to detail the Powerbuilder revision, new features are expected to advance the product as a data warehousing engine as well as adding Web and Java-enabling hooks. The product will be just one of a rash of recent announcements that Sybase hopes will restore it to health after a recent rocky spell.

On 17 July, Sybase turned in a welcome profitable financial quarter after a losses for the two previous quarters. The US company had $217.8m (£132.8m) in revenues for the April-June quarter, up slightly on the previous year's $215m (£131m). Profit was $0.4m (£.24m), compared to a net loss of $17.8m (£10.85m)a year ago. The firm said last week its plan to move away from being purely a database supplier is firmly on track.

Europe and the UK in particular played a big role, according to Colin Tenwick, Sybase UK managing director. "Our first half of the year is up 25 percent and we've won contracts with Rank Xerox and the London Clearing House. We've done particularly well with middleware products in large corporations that historically haven't been Sybase accounts, including places where IBM and Oracle databases are the choice and they need to move data for sales force automation and customer relationship management. Only 30-odd percent of our revenues is now databases. We're focused on bringing together IT architectures with a sales-led approach [focusing on financial, banking, telecommunications and media sectors]."

Tenwick said Sybase's Adaptive Server Anywhere plan to make back-end databases available for mobile PC users was also bearing fruit, including a large win for the Royal London insurance firm.

Sybase recently detailed plans to team up with Intuit, the leading supplier of financial management software, in a bid to enable secure, standards-based transactions between banks and customers. Sybase will build support for Intuit's Quicken package into its Financial Server software so that users can connect seamlessly with banking systems.

Released in April, Financial Server is based on the Jaguar Component Transaction Server, the middle tier in Sybase's Adaptive Server Architecture, announced last August.

Sybase said expects the Intuit tie-up to be the first of many alliances or product announcements in the financial/banking sector.