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So Long Sybase

Sybase is (or was) one interesting company. Founded in 1984, two of the founders, Bob Epstein and Stu Hoffman, quickly became among the most accessible and honest business leaders. SQL Server was brand new, giving Oracle and all the other DBMS players fits.

Then Sybase crafted a deal with Microsoft and Ashton-Tate, a deal finalized behind closed doors at Esther Dyson's PC Forum (I was there, just not behind the doors).

Ashton-Tate quickly fell out as it failed to deliver a truly-SQL compatible version of dBase that would front-end SQL Server.

That left Microsoft with what was essentially a full PC server version of SQL Server. Sybase's thinking, apparently, was databases running on PC-based servers were a small slice of the market. So what's the harm giving one to Redmond?

Things turned out differently as Microsoft used Sybase's own code against it, and Sybase ultimately moved away from the pure DBMS space and deftly maneuvered into data warehousing and mobile tools. The transition went so well that SAP just ponied up nearly $6 billion to buy Sybase. Not too shabby.

Will you miss Sybase, and if so, why? Answers welcome at [email protected].

Posted by Doug Barney on May 17, 2010


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