SAP is acquiring Sybase for two reasons, none of which have to do with getting bigger for bigness sake:
- SAP has had real issues launching their SaaS efforts. In fact, Oracle’s recent agility and determined efforts to deliver next-generation platforms is driving SAP to move quickly. Sybase’s database offerings can help transform SAP’s architectural offerings to be more “cloud” like. Just like Oracle’s “there-is-no-cloud” Cloud offerings.
- More importantly: Now is finally the time for enterprise apps to go mobile! Thank you Mr. Jobs for the iPhone & iPad. It has catalyzed the long emergent mobile enteprise application market. First, Google acquired Admob for $750 million. Then HP acquires Palm for $1.2 billion. Now you have SAP realizing that they need address this application access shift in a serious way — Sybase’s mobile capabilities will help them do that. In fact, the acquisition was telegraphed in their earlier partnership established in March of 2009. At that time, Bill McDermott, president of Global Field Operations for SAP, said during a press conference, “There is also a mega-trend that we see: the mobile enterprise worker is now the most important worker, because the mobile enterprise worker is now touching the customer.”
Will Sybase make SAP nominally bigger? Sure. But this is more about capitalizing on new opportunities through the technology than size considerations.