Page Two

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2004-02-02 Print this article Print

Meanwhile, Borland officials said that moving forward the company is looking at all good news. For instance, Borland is moving to better align its organization and now has promised to gain more focus by putting all of its integrated development environment (IDE) groups—including C++, Delphi, Java and Linux (Kylix) tools—under one group that will report to George Paolini, who has been Borlands vice president and general manager of Java products, Borland officials said.
And officials said the hiring of Matt Thompson as senior vice president of worldwide sales is "pivotal" to the companys strategy. Thompson was hired away from Marimba Inc. in October.
One source close to Borland said Stone "made a lot of things happen," particularly with the companys Java tools, as he was a key contributor to Borlands JBuilder Java development tool. The source said both Stone and Jazdzewski going to Microsoft is ironic because it was Stones elevation to Borland CTO in mid-2003 that many insiders said they believe made Jazdzewski begin to have rumblings about leaving the company. However, the defections of Stone and Jazdzewski are not isolated. Over the last few months other key personnel have left the company. Roger Barney, Borlands chief administrative officer, is set to leave at the end of this month. Doug Barre, former chief operating officer, left Oct. 15. Simon Thornhill, former Borland vice president and general manager of .Net solutions, left in the last couple of months. And Frank Slootman, former Borland senior vice president of software products, left earlier in 2003. Yet despite losing large numbers of people in the past, Borland has remained a key contributor to the developer tools community, with highly regarded and industry-leading tools such as JBuilder, C++Builder and Kylix. "I dont see the recent departures as a brain drain," said Theresa Lanowitz, an analyst with Gartner Inc., in Stamford, Conn. "I think what we are experiencing is business as usual in the software industry. And positions at tech companies are opening up. Borland, for some reason, tends to keep people longer than what we typically see at software companies. So when you see people leaving from Borland it does seem somewhat odd." She added that Borland is undergoing an image change: "Borland has historically been a leading-edge company. That is a fine image to have, but if Borland really wants to be taken seriously in the minds of CIOs, who are now being held accountable from the line of business, they need to shift their focus and how they approach the market. I think [Borland CEO] Dale Fuller is quite capable of putting together a team of people to make the dramatic shift that Borland needs to." Thomas Murphy, an analyst with the Meta Group Inc., in Stamford, Conn., said, "That is a bit of brain drain but also them going through growing, etc. … So I dont think it is a tremendous problem, but I would keep an eye on things. The quarter looks like it turned out better than I thought, the EBU is starting to get a bit pulled together, management is shaping up, and the technologies are getting integrated." John Muchow, a Java 2 Micro Edition technical expert with who uses Borland technology, said: "With a solid product line and extremely talented development staff, I dont believe this will have a long-term effect on Borland." Dale Fuller, chief executive of the Scotts Valley, Calif., company, said the companys engineers remain very solid. "The technical leadership of the company is with 10 people [primarily chief scientists in different units]; each unit has multiple key architects. We bring out the best and brightest minds and promote them through the ranks. Blake Stone was one of those people." Fuller sad the company is "sad to lose a friend like Blake Stone, but were also proud of him. Hes a Borlander forever. We couldnt have chosen a better ambassador for Borland." Fuller said the recent defections "will not have any impact on Borlands ability to continue to deliver on our ALM [Application Lifecycle Management] strategy." Developer viewpoints varied on the moves. "Normally if some high profile person at a company resigns then no big deal, they are probably moving on to bigger and better things," said a poster on the Fog Creek Software Inc. software discussion forum. "But to have four high-level folks resign seems like more than just coincidence." Another poster said: "Borland has been sinking for ages, while in the meantime such unsinkable Titanics as Netscape, Visual Cafe, Visual J++, Enron, etc. have disappeared without a trace. After a while the Borland is dying mantra sounds more like a dull whine, almost like the distant braying of donkeys."

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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