Inprise Revives Borland Name
In a reversal of its yearlong foray into large systems sites, Inprise Corp. (www.inprise.com) revived the Borland name by creating a separate operating unit called Borland.com. The move is considered an acknowledgment that the Borland brand still carries a lot of cache with software developers.
Borland International was renamed to Inprise last April to emphasize the company's shift to the enterprise middleware market.
Borland.com will serve the company's long-standing market of software developers; the Inprise division will continue to focus on enterprise-scale application development and application servers. The split in focus is intended to help both divisions "be more successful than they have in the past -- enabling each to pursue distinct competitors and market distribution strategies more effectively," says Delbert W. Yocam, Inprise Corp.’s chairman and CEO. At the end of 1998, each sector represented about half of the company's revenues. The two new divisions will be headquartered in separate locations, with borland.com remaining in Scotts Valley, Calif., and Inprise moving to San Mateo, Calif.
At the time of last year's Inprise announcement, analysts expressed concern about the company's ability to be all things to all people: serving both the individual tools and middleware components markets. The company "got mixed results on the renaming," says Michael West, research director with GartnerGroup (www.gartner.com). "Many in the developer community were disgruntled to see the [Borland] name disappear, and the new focus so heavily emphasized at their expense."
Hedging its bets, Inprise maintained the Borland brand name for development tools. Now, the company is expanding on that holdover to the point that it has practically resurrected the original Borland. "The company hit a speed bump when it was renamed," West says. "It was perceived to have omitted its primary segments, which are the traditional developers." Many of these developers prefer Borland to Microsoft products, he adds.
Borland.com's goal is to become a destination Web site that offers a range of development products, including those from third parties. Borland.com will distribute and support its products over the Web, as well as through software distributors.
Borland.com recently announced its first new product, Borland C++Builder 4, a new version of the company's C++ development system. This release of C++Builder -- in Professional or Enterprise Editions -- is viewed as a serious contender to Microsoft's Visual C++ and IBM's VisualAge.
"The sheer domination of Microsoft basically elbowed Borland off the stage for a couple of releases," West says. "They're roaring back with this one, which is a very strong release. It provides the kind of flexibility you don't get with either VisualAge or with Visual C++."
C++Builder 4 is a front-to-back C++ compiler and development environment for creating desktop, client/server, multitier, and distributed applications that are interoperable with multiple platforms, including Windows NT, Unix and Java. New features include support for rapid development of both CORBA and COM components and integration with Inprise's VisiBroker 3.3 with event and naming services. The new product also includes C++ debugging tools, including remote debugging for COM and CORBA development.
The latest version of C++Builder "provides better support for CORBA than Microsoft product, which is biased towards COM and hates CORBA," West relates. "As a result, Microsoft gives you a proprietary solution, and Borland is trying to give you something that's more flexible and general."
At the development shop for Sanford C. Bernstein and Co. Inc., C++Builder 4 cut development time by eliminating "the need to switch between Visual C++ for back-end logic and Visual Basic for user interfaces and prototypes," says Tacos Chrisaidos, director of portfolio management systems at Bernstein and Co. He gives high marks to C++Builder's ability "to expand existing COM objects with CORBA to provide interoperability with Unix, Java, and Windows."
Additional features added to the product include Internet tools and failover support. This latest version is compatible with existing C++ code, including Borland C++, ANSI C++, and Visual C++.
The product also supports Oracle8i database server, Microsoft's Microsoft Foundation Classes, Microsoft's Active Template Library, Microsoft SQL Server 7.0, and Microsoft Transaction Server.
The Two Sides of Inprise Corp.
Borland.com Product Line
Inprise Product Line
Inprise Application Server
JBuilder for AppServer