Borland back, Inprise goes for good

After first mooting it in June last year, it's now official: Inprise is getting out of the development tool business and Borland is getting back in.

After first mooting it in June last year, it's now official: Inprise is getting out of the development tool business and Borland is getting back in.

The head of the Californian software company, Dale Fuller, says the time is right to revert to its former name; Inprise will be phased out by the end of the year.

"I first thought about it a year-and-a-half ago but at that time I had more important things on my plate," says Fuller, speaking from the company's Asia-Pacific developer conference, Borcon, in Sydney. Fuller says properly executed, the introduction of the Inprise name in early 1998 in a bid to get into the enterprise market, could have worked. By the time he joined the company last year, it considered it too late to get the name to stick.

What he had to contend with were losses, which in the past two quarters have been turned back into modest profits -- about $US12 million in the three months to the end of September.

"The company's in the best financial position it's been in in eight years. We have a new focus, we're energetic and we're going after it."

"It" includes the Linux market. The company made an abortive attempt to acquire Corel so the pair could pursue Linux opportunities, but the deal was called off in May as Corel's share price plunged.

"I wanted Corel's suite of applications so we could make them available over the net. Now we're looking at [Sun's} StarOffice, which is open-source so anyone can get hold of it."

The company is also readying a Linux development tool, Kylix, which Fuller says will be available in the first quarter of next year. He believes there's pent-up demand for a Linux development tool and is confident, also, that the open source community, which is used to not paying for its software, is prepared to in this instance.

But Linux is just one of Fuller's preoccupations. He plays up Borland's platform-independence, saying Windows developers are its biggest market, followed by Linux, Sun's Solaris and the Macintosh.

Relations with Microsoft are so strong that Borland has bought into its .NET strategy, says Fuller, planning to provide native tools for the platform. He's not sceptical about the strategy, which has been criticised for being poorly defined. "Microsoft has so much money it can buy its way into anything."

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