Borland Plans To Spin Off Dev Tools Group

The division began looking for backers in February, when Borland announced its plans to sell off the IDE (Integrated Development Environment) product lines that once formed its core and focus on the ALM (application life-cycle management) market.

While initial speculation centers around which other vendors might be interested in buying Borland's team and technology—IBM and Oracle topped the rumor-mill list—the team's preference was to go indie with the backing of private equity investors, according to David Intersimone, vice president of developer relations at Borland. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company is in the final stages of negotiating the separation and expects the new company formed around the Developer Tools Group to launch this fall.

Some Borland partners say they're glad the tools group will be in control of its own fate, rather than facing the uncertainty that an acquisition by a larger hardware or software vendor would have brought.

"It's been a longer process than everyone expected, but I'm excited. We're waiting anxiously for the official word," said Ray Konopka, president of ISV Raize Software in Naperville, Ill., a longtime Borland partner.

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Working with Borland in recent years has grown more difficult as the company shifted its focus to ALM software and downplayed developer products, Konopka said.

"They ended up segmenting partners into the developer tools or the process side of life-cycle management, and we were finding that it became more difficult to get our message across because Borland's message was targeting the opposite group," Konopka said. "The group that's now the developer group, they immediately see the value in tools partners. We'll have better visibility."

The group soon will offer single-language IDEs for students and hobbyists under Borland's venerable Turbo brand. Turbo Delphi for Win32, Turbo Delphi for .Net, Turbo C++ and Turbo C# are slated to launch this month.

Borland's Developer Studio IDE offerings, on the other hand, target enterprise developers. While enterprise development remains the bread-and-butter for most software tool vendors, getting young people aboard early has become a priority with most tool vendors including Microsoft, observers said.