Speaking of Borland: The company announced today that it’s spinning off its Developer Tools Group — you know, JBuilder, Delphi, C++Builder and the other integrated development environments — into a wholly owned subsidiary.

CodeGear will be led by Ben Smith as CEO. He’s been with Borland for a year, and I never heard of him until now. The company describes him as “a seasoned technology executive.”

In February, Borland announced that it would be seeking a buyer for its IDE products, leaving Borland with its ALM product lines only. The company now says that it wasn’t able to sell the products because it couldn’t adequately separate the DevCo financials in order to show the true value of the IDE business.

The PR person who sent me the news wrote: “Borland feels that this model – although different from its original plan – will give CodeGear the separate structure, investment and leadership it needs to grow that business.” In the official press release, Tod Neilsen, Borland’s CEO, says:

“We believe by creating two separate operations, Borland and CodeGear can both obtain the necessary focus and dedicated resources to serve two important, but distinct markets. We will continue to partner and share a mutual view of customer success. However, going forward Borland will be completely focused on leading the Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) market, while CodeGear will be focused on the software developer.”

That’s where I have a core disagreement with Borland. I believe that the software developer and the software development manager are fundamental to the ALM market. They are the ALM market.

While high-priced ALM “solutions” may sound sexy to an enterprise CIO, at the end of the day companies need to make sure that their software development teams are effective and productive. That means providing managers and developers with great tools. Tightly integrated tools, yes, that span the software development life cycle. But insisting that the ALM market is distinct from software developers, that I’m not accepting… especially if Borland is saying that it must divest itself of the IDEs and other tools in order to serve the ALM market effectively.

Frankly, this is oh, so reminiscent of Borland’s “Inprise” era under Del Yocam, as the company seeks to swim upstream to sell ever-pricier enterprise-scale solutions. It’s déjà vu all over again.

I can’t wait to talk to Neilsen, Smith and the other Borland/CodeGear managers about this… whenever we get our conference call rescheduled.

>> Update 11/19: Not much is known yet about Ben Smith, but he wrote this brief letter to Borland’s customers, partners and fans.

Z Trek Copyright (c) Alan Zeichick
1 reply
  1. Michael Swindell
    Michael Swindell says:

    Hey Alan! The original team is all here in Scotts Valley and excited about the new company with a 100% focus on developers. As a separate unit in in Borland we just launched our Turbo editions, and now as CodeGear we’re getting ready to launch JBuilder 2007 on Eclipse, and working on new versions of Delphi for Vista, and other cool tools and languages for developers. Very much looking forward to talking to you on a regular basis again! We’re going to have lots to talk about over the coming months and years.

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