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Q&A: Sybase CEO decries SCO 'garbage,' Oracle's behavior

He also warned of offshore outsourcing security issues and touted H-1B visas

By Don Tennant
June 17, 2003 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - John Chen, CEO of Dublin, Calif.-based Sybase Inc., spoke with Computerworld yesterday about a range of controversial issues, including The SCO Group Inc.'s Unix copyright infringement claims and the security implications of offshore outsourcing. Excerpts from the interview follow:

Given that Sybase has such a strong presence in Linux shops, how concerned are you and your customers about SCO's claims? I have had customers express concern about it. Two major customers of mine have already told me that they're going to slow down their rollouts on Linux and wait to see how this develops. So it has put a wrinkle in the equation. Am I concerned about it? No. As long as the customers are soliciting and getting my help to either get more apps migrated from Unix to Linux or from NT to Linux, I'm doing the work anyway.
I and my customers are going to watch and see how the thing unfolds. As an industry person, I think it's rather a shame. The Linux platform serves a segment of the market, and I hate to see this being challenged by a very established player. Ultimately, it hurts our industry and innovation. If you stop the open-systems movement because of something like this, it limits innovation and it only favors the big boys. You want an open environment that players can add value to and thereby expand IT budgets -- not shrink them. I think it's very unfortunate that this garbage is being thrown around. A small group of players just wants to protect the status quo.

John Chen, CEO of Sybase Inc.
John Chen, CEO of Sybase Inc.
Our industry right now needs some capital growth. Let's, for starters, create more jobs for the people who have been displaced. This is not the time for the industry [players] to fight among each other to slow down the innovative process.

Sybase and PeopleSoft have had a strong partnership for years. What's your take on Oracle CEO Larry Ellison's hostile takeover bid? Putting a low-ball figure in, at least it disrupted the current PeopleSoft/J.D. Edwards situation, and Larry obviously doesn't want to lose the No. 2 spot. If you go through Larry's numbers last quarter, his apps business did not grow. In fact, foreign currency adjusted, his apps business may have shrunk. The whole packaged apps business for everybody in the last couple quarters has been weak, and it will continue to be weak until the economy picks up. So this is a good time for them to consolidate and boost their own apps business.
I don't compete in that, but I


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