The dominance of software tools vendors IBM and Microsoft makes it tough for startups to develop new tools, a Borland executive says.
“I think it makes it really hard for startups to do really innovative tools right now,” he says. “There’s no IPO [share float] market but there’s also very little opportunity to get acquired.”
As recently as last year tools vendors were keen to buy promising technology, but now prefer to build their own tools, Coad says.
“It’s a business decision. If you’re doing a strategic acquisition, are you getting access to clients? Are you getting access to technology? If it’s not mission-critical to the company in the next 12 months or so, why would I go and buy that company?”
Coad recently visited Auckland and Wellington to present a seminar on agile development. About 90 developers attended in Wellington and 150 in Auckland.
His presentation focused on Borland’s support for a range of methodologies and platforms.
“I kind of like to think of it as companies having a family of recipes,” he says. “There’s not one universal recipe for doing anything.”
Coad agrees with Computerworld’s suggestion that developers often have a “religious” attachment to the products of one platform vendor, but says Borland competes by both supporting other vendors and providing options.
“It’s good to have advocates like that, but it’s also good to have someone who says ‘Hey, there’s another way’,” Coad says.
Some developers, such as systems integrators, need tools that will work on any platform, he adds. “They have to — they are meeting clients’ needs.”
Other companies are concerned that a large vendor such as Microsoft or IBM might eventually become a competitor.
“What we add is a layer of protection. Even if you’re dealing with one of those rascals you get some distance. Our clients find that a reassuring thing.”
Borland both supports and competes with IBM and Microsoft products, Coad says. “In both cases there’s a sense of competition and cooperation.”