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SAP/Sybase Deal Adds Unix, Linux And Mobile For SAP's SMB Suite

SAP AG and Sybase announced Monday that they have entered a new relationship whereby SAP will offer its Business One suite of applications for SMB customers on Sybase's SQL server database.

The suite, tailored to meet the needs of companies with 10 to about 200 users, currently works only with Microsoft SQL Server and Windows machines. SAP's relationship with Sybase, Dublin, Calif., now adds Linux and Unix support.

"We had two customers who switched to the Microsoft platform, but would have preferred to stay with Unix if they could [have]," said Kory Lind, president of Third Wave Business Systems, Elmwood, N.J. "We're also getting a lot of questions about Linux, which seems to have become more mainstream. Having these additional options will be very beneficial for us."

Lind is among 50 channel partners who sell Business One in the United States. Gary Fromer, SAP's senior vice president of SMB and hosting, said he expects the U.S. channel eventually will encompass about 250 partners.

SAP's integrated suite, introduced to the U.S. market in March, currently has about 1,600 customers and is sold through approximately 280 channel partners worldwide.

The new alliance gives SAP more than new database and operating system options. It also supplies resellers with mature mobile products, thanks to Sybase's iAnywhere Solutions subsidiary. Those products include iAnywhere SQL Anywhere Studio, for database management and synchronization; mobile middleware; and the AvantGo service for PDAs, mobile phones and laptops. Free to users, AvantGo currently has 10 million subscribers.

"Sybase has significant share in the market for mobile capabilities," said Fromer. "Being able to work on desktops, PDAs and laptops through one [Business One] system is a big advantage for customers. We think these capabilities will help us penetrate the SMB market, which is very important to us. "

Sybase executives said they expect the relationship to be mutually beneficial. "We typically go after Fortune 2000 companies, and this is a way to take advantage of a strong channel in the small- to midsize-business market," said Marty Beard, Sybase's senior vice president of corporate development and marketing. "This marks a strong mid-market play for us. We're excited because it will help make our flagship [database] product more pervasive and extend our mobile technologies into an important space."

Fromer said he expects SAP to launch the Sybase version of Business One for the United States and Western Europe in the late spring. Business One pricing should remain unchanged, he said. SAP is expected to release the new mobile capabilities at approximately the same time. Pricing for that has not been determined.

Earlier today, SAP announced that Business One 6.5, available now, has been upgraded to include beefier CRM capabilities, with added features for contract management, field service management and employee management.

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