Borland’s Tools Might Have a Future
April 15, 2006 —
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My initial reaction to the announcement that Borland was going to sell off its programming languages division was despair. The announcement did not specify a buyer and, as of this writing, no purchaser has come forward. Taken at face value, the announcement has all the earmarks of a final clearance sale for a product disdained by its seller.
A funny thing happened on the way to the dumpster, though. The words coming from employees and longtime Borland watchers were far more upbeat than the pro forma platitudes about looking forward to new opportunities that one expects. If the companys languages division doesnt have a secret plan in place, it sure is doing a heck of a good imitation of a group that does.
David Intersimones role as the head cheerleader and evangelist for Borlands development tools goes far back into the DOS days. Although he hasnt yet announced the day or location of the house-warming party, his attitude seems unequivocal: The Delphi technologies are not going away. David I, as hes known, has always been a straight shooter, and I just dont think hed be talking this way, to a community with which hes worked for two decades, if there were not a solution near at hand.
Normally, one would assume that any such rescue would come in the form of a wholesale purchase by a major player (Oracle and Novell being two obvious possibilities), but I think a wholly independent companyDelphiSoft, TurboWare, OutPriseis a possibility as well. But if Borland corporate saw a way for a self-sufficient company (DevCo seems to be the preferred code name) to keep the balance sheet in the black, it would be spinning the division out, not selling it off.
The Delphi line is rooted in the understanding that programmers and programming languages matter. For all the talk about platforms and IDEs and life-cycle management, the evolving opinions and preferences of programmers, not managers, determine the direction of the industry.