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By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2006-02-06 Print this article Print

Thats the old Borland that I remember. It had a lot of drive and a lot of heart to take on Microsoft. But in terms of products, what stands out to you?

Im new enough that I dont want to start talking and leave any product out. But when I look at whats happening in Delphi and C++ and C# Builder and that stuff, its core, solid technology.

One of the moves Im excited about is the embracing of Eclipse and some of the other platforms. Were saying, "Its OK if you want to develop in Visual Studio because were going to enhance that experience with our interoperability there."

Do you agree with the decision to go with Eclipse? Would you have made it?

I think it is important for us to be the company that supports software development. And we want to be independent, heterogeneous ... so whatever people choose, we want to support [it]. If they want to choose Microsoft, great; if they want to choose Eclipse and open source, great. Whatever the environment, the platform, we want to be there to make them successful.

Well, JBuilder has been so successful, and the impact that Eclipse has had on it and that Eclipse will continue to have on it is big. What do you see coming from that?

I think there are transition life cycles in any kind of product line. Business models change or things happen. And, if you sit back and just cry over your spilled milk, youre going to be toast.

The thing Im excited about [with] the management team here is [that] they havent sat back and cried. They said, "Were going to take things to the next level with Application Lifecycle Management and Software Delivery Optimization." And the JBuilder/Eclipse world is evolving, and were going to support those folks that want to use us.

One of your personal strengths has been community building, with the whole MSDN [Microsoft Developer Network] thing. And Borland always had a strong developer community. Have you looked at how you might reinvigorate the community?

Well, I think spending time with them and getting the "mojo" going is big. But another thing thats important is expanding it beyond our traditional developer base into architects [and] business analysts and building the community more broadly—so we can get the eclectic set of folks that are all involved in this life cycle. We want to support the broader set of that community.

Well, the thing is, the enterprise tools space is not their heritage, and they face a challenge there in attacking this market. How different is the enterprise market for tools?

I never realized, because I was obviously on that side of the fence. I thought in my last few years there [at Microsoft], when I was running the platform group, that Id become an enterprise guy because we could scale SQL Server to a billion transactions; or whatever our pitch was at the time. And it wasnt until I got out that I realized that this enterprise games a little bit different than I imagined.

I think Microsoft will learn as they continue to bet in this space that you cant just take the same cookie-cutter success and go boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.

Do you remember Ashton-Tate? They had the guy who created Query by Example, and it was this thing that took off. Then he came up with the next epiphany, Query by Form; then Query by Report. And it was basically the same model. But the rest of it fell apart. It was the case of having a different problem and needing a different solution. I think Microsoft does a good job at being persistent and cranking, but I think the enterprise isnt necessarily going to take the first thing they have to offer.

Who or what do you see as your primary competition?

One thing Ive got to do is get up to speed on the real specifics that are going on in this marketplace. There are a lot of [partial] players weve got to look at and decide how we go up against them, or partner with them, or whatever. In the long term, its going to be Microsoft and IBM as competitors. Mercury [Interactive] is a competitor to some extent, though I think theyve taken a step toward the sidelines for a little bit.

What about open source?

My belief is [that] open source is something that everybodys initial reaction [to] was fear. But I think the best way to deal with any issue, especially open source, is to take it head-on and say, "We want to work with you and help you be successful." Because, at the end of the day, if software development is successful, were successful. If you try to say, "Were against this kind of software development," youre just setting yourself up for failure.

Are you here to prepare the company for sale?

Im here to make Borland win. I want Borland to win. I think I am the right guy to make Borland win. And were going to do everything we can to make that happen.

Define "win."

Taking Borland to the next level, to be leaders in the Software Delivery Optimization category ... showing market success, customer adoption, revenue growth and all the metrics that quantify success. Im not here to say, "Lets sell the company."

Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis in programming environments and developer tools.

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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