Borland Brain Drain Continues

UPDATED: Borland is losing two top engineers to Microsoft in a brain drain reminiscent of a period several years ago when Borland sued Microsoft for such practices.

Borland Software Corp. is said to be losing two of its top engineers to Microsoft Corp. in a brain drain reminiscent of a period several years ago when Microsoft cherry-picked some of the top talent from Borland.

According to sources and documents Borland filed with the federal government, the Scotts Valley, Calif., company will say goodbye to Blake Stone, the companys chief technology officer as of Feb. 6. Stone is said to be headed to Microsoft Corp. to pursue "an offer he could not refuse," a source said.

Meanwhile, Chuck Jazdzewski, formerly chief scientist and architect of Borlands Delphi technology, left the company last month and is also said to be headed to Microsoft. Sources said Jazdzewski will be joining Microsofts Avalon team. Avalon is the presentation layer of the companys upcoming Longhorn operating system, which is expected in 2005 or 2006.

Celine Allee, a spokeswoman for Borland, acknowledged that both Stone and Jazdzewski had decided to leave Borland, but said she did not know where either was headed.

Microsoft would not comment on the fate of the two developers or whether they had been hired by the Redmond, Wash., software giant.

However, sources said the two are definitely defecting to Microsoft. Borland has long been proving ground for Microsoft talent. Over the years many top Borland developers—including Anders Hejlsberg, who developed Delphi for Borland and was instrumental in the creation of C# for Microsoft—have left Borland for Microsoft.

"Borlanders have done that in the past" and Borland has lived to move forward, Allee said. In addition, in a prior interview with eWEEK, David Intersimone, Borlands vice president of developer relations, said most of Borlands developers who left for Microsoft all tended to look back and pay homage to Borland, as Hejlsberg did in creating a line of compatibility between Microsofts C# and Borlands Delphi.

In 1997 then-Borland CEO Del Yocam sued Microsoft over the brain drain, which included Hejlsberg. The suit alleged Microsoft hired more than 30 key Borland employees over 30 months to try to get the companys plans. Microsoft offered incentives such as stock options, real estate and large signing bonuses. Notable defections also included Paul Gross, who was then Borlands vice president of research and development.

Next page: Good news for Borland.