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Borland Ditches Developer Tools

Borland Software announced Wednesday that it is getting out of the integrated development environment (IDE) business and plans to sell off its legendary programming tools.

At the same time, Cupertino, Calif.-based Borland continues aggressively moving forward into the application lifecycle business (ALM), announcing it will purchase Lexington, Mass.-based Segue Software.

The company has offered up for sale both its Borland Development Studio and JBuilder product lines. Borland Development Studio includes Borland's Delphi, C++Builder, and C#Builder tools. Meanwhile, the all cash deal for Segue will set Borland back around $100 million, or $8.67 per share of Segue stock.

"The decision to expand our emphasis on ALM, and at the same time enable our IDE business to get the attention it deserves, enables us to do what's right for our business, what's right for our customers and what's right for the future of software development," newly minted president and CEO Tod Nielsen said in a statement.

Borland was founded in 1983 and rose to prominence with highly functional, yet inexpensive, developer tools like TurboPascal and popular "terminate and stay resident" utilities like Sidekick.

Borland Software's original incarnation was as Borland International with Gallic developer tools entrepreneur and founder Philippe Khan at the helm. Borland was a major Microsoft competitor in the 1980s and early 1990s. Despite the company delving into other areas of competition, including office productivity suites -- even going so far as to change its name to Inprise in the 1990s -- it stayed true to its developer tools roots. Even today, many developers prefer to use Borland's programming tools, particularly in the Java world.

However, the company failed to win in its battles against the Redmond giant and eventually fell on hard financial times. In recent years, Borland has been trying to remake itself, focusing on products to support what Borland describes as "software delivery optimization."

In November, Borland Software named former Microsoft executive Tod Nielsen as the company's new president and CEO, and also appointed him to the company's board. Nielsen replaced previous CEO Dale Fuller who resigned from Borland in July after second quarter losses came in higher than anticipated.

The company has been gradually positioning itself to expand into up-and-coming product areas over the past three years. As Borland's play solidifies, the company says it will focus on products for IT management and governance, requirements definition and management, change management, and lifecycle quality management.

Segue's Silk product line will contribute to Borland's upcoming lifecycle quality management solution. The purchase of Segue is expected to close in the second quarter.

"Both markets are important, but Borland can no longer give both the resources and attention they require," Nielsen's statement said. The company has retained Bear, Stearns & Co. to help sell off Borland's developer tools assets.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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