Borland Returns to Its Roots
Nov 20, 2000, 20:02 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Kevin Newcomb)
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By Kevin Newcomb
What's in a name? Years of brand equity, developer loyalty and
name recognition, if that name is Borland. Last week, Inprise
Corporation announced the culmination of a 6-month refocusing
strategy that includes a return to its roots as Borland Software
"The Borland name, despite a complete lack of marketing, has
continued to be strong in the minds of our customers and
developers," Ted Shelton, senior VP business development, told ASP
News. "The Inprise name had never really gained ground."
Borland was founded in 1983, and made a name for itself selling
developer-focused products like dBASE, Paradox, C and Pascal.
Borland touts a community of 2 million developers using its
products -- the largest outside of Microsoft, according to
"This is one of the great companies of the PC era," Shelton
said. "There was a time when Borland's market cap was bigger than
Borland changed its name to Inprise in April 1998 under chairman
and CEO Del Yocam to reflect its growing focus on enterprise
computing following its acquisition of Visigenic Software. Yocam
resigned in March 1999 after the board of directors requested his
resignation, citing philosophical differences regarding the
company's growth strategy. Yocam was succeeded by current president
and CEO Dale Fuller in April 1999.
Inprise began operating under the combined moniker Inprise
/Borland in January 2000. In February 2000, a merger with Corel
Corporation was announced in which Inprise/Borland would become a
wholly owned subsidiary of Corel, but the deal
It was at that point that the re-focusing began, and the
decision to change the name back to Borland was made. "We
determined there was an opportunity to rebuild Borland as a
stand-alone business, focusing on developers as our customers, and
covering the entire lifecycle of the development process," Shelton
said. "Rather than make the change right away, we decided to
demonstrate that we had costs under control, and record a couple of
profitable quarters, and we've done that."
The legal name of the company will continue to be Inprise
Corporation until the name change process has been completed during
the first quarter of 2001. The company is de facto referring to
itself now as Borland. Once the name change is completed, the
company also expects to change its Nasdaq market symbol from "INPR"
With the re-dedication to developers, Borland is also refocusing
on its ASP strategy, announced in November 1999. The strategy
consists of three layers. The first, a "user layer," provides users
with a single point of entry and universal registration system from
which to access applications from various ASPs being used within a
company. The second, a "transport layer," allows a user to access
ASP-hosted applications on different types of devices, removing the
complexity of the ASP having to support many different devices.
Finally, a "messaging layer" allows different applications from
various ASPs to communicate with one another.
To this end, Borland has completed the acquisition of mobile
infrastructure developer Bedouin Inc. and created a fourth business
unit, Borland Developer Services, to compete in the
emerging market for Developer Service Providers (DSP).
Borland Developer Services will leverage Bedouin's expertise in
building and deploying e-services, such as team coordination, time
tracking and customer relationship management, to deliver a new
platform that will allow customers to build, deploy and manage
applications via the Internet. With the Borland DSP, users will be
able to customize their development environment according to their
Development Service Providers, as in the existing ASP
marketplace, will provide customers with hosted applications and
services. Instead of supporting corporate operations such as human
resources or customer relationship management, DSPs will support
developers, providing hosted developer services for the complete
software development lifecycle.
"In managing large software projects, I often confronted the
challenge of providing my staff with a robust set of development
lifecycle tools on a distributed basis. In developing the DSP, I
saw the opportunity through Bedouin to solve this problem for the
ten of thousands of corporate development teams working around the
world today," said Patrick J. Kerpan, founder of Bedouin.
Borland plans to locate the Borland Developer Services business
unit in Chicago, Illinois. Bedouin brings with it a strong product
management and software development team who will form the core
management of the new Borland Developer Services division. Leading
that team will be Patrick J. Kerpan and Dwight Koop, both
enterprise application development veterans and pioneers in the
hosted Internet services space. Kerpan will become the vice
president and general manager of the new business unit.
Can this refocusing pay off? Only time will tell, but there is
definitely excitement in the air at Borland. "There have been
several former employees who had resigned coming back and saying,
'I hear Borland is back, and that it's a great place to work again.
Can I come back?'" Shelton said.
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