Spinning Out the Tools

By John Pallatto  |  Posted 2006-02-08 Print this article Print

But more likely the best way to sustain the future of these products for the longest possible time is to simply spin out Borlands tools group and keep it in the hands of the people who have been most responsible to building and selling the products—some of whom have been working on them since their conception. That may be the move that Borlands CEO Tod Nielsen might favor, although it might not be the option that would deliver the most immediate value for shareholders.
Whether such a venture makes sense depends on whether the prospective owners and managers are convinced there are good prospects for a sustainable revenue stream and even the potential for future growth.
Click here to read more about Borland selling off its tools and acquiring Segue. Its most important that the Borland tools remain in the market in some fashion. They are too good and too valuable to just disappear all together. There has never been a good reason for any software technology to linger in the market if it isnt useful. A lot of technology has come and gone in the more than 20 years that Borland has been in the business. But the fact that it has maintained a lucrative business model for two decades based on selling application development is in itself a remarkable achievement. It survived, and even prospered, in the face of competition from Microsoft, which could always subsidize the development of its tools business with cash from its operating systems and applications businesses. Borland can also take pride in knowing that it was able to do this because frequently Borland tools were superior to Microsofts tools for Microsofts own programming environments. Its the key reason why Borland has survived all these years. Borlands decision to acquire Segue Software to focus on software testing and ALM is a bold one, considering how much competition there is in the market. It will be competing with the likes of IBM, Serena Software, Microsofts Visual Studio Team System, Compuware and Mercury Interactive. But that is nothing new; its been competing with all of these companies for years anyway. Its a logical progression from what the company has focused on since its founding. It also allows Borland to move into a space where there is still growth and high demand. While development tools have become commoditized, there is still massive demand for systems that let developers test and fix the applications they have already built. There is no indication that developers are going to become obsolete any time soon, even with the increasing use of modular, reusable code blocks to build applications. There is also no indication that developers are going to produce code that is any less bug-ridden than it was 20 years ago. John Pallatto is a veteran journalist in the field of enterprise software and Internet technology. He can be reached at john_pallatto@ziffdavis.com. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis in programming environments and developer tools.

John Pallatto John Pallatto is eWEEK.com's Managing Editor News/West Coast. He directs eWEEK's news coverage in Silicon Valley and throughout the West Coast region. He has more than 35 years of experience as a professional journalist, which began as a report with the Hartford Courant daily newspaper in Connecticut. He was also a member of the founding staff of PC Week in March 1984. Pallatto was PC Week's West Coast bureau chief, a senior editor at Ziff Davis' Internet Computing magazine and the West Coast bureau chief at Internet World magazine.

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