Borland Focuses on ALM with Acquisition, Divestiture

Q&A: Borland's CEO says a lean, mean and refocused Borland is ready for the world.

Borland Software on Feb. 8 announced both its acquisition of Segue Software and its divestiture of its integrated development environment tools business that has been synonymous with the Borland name since the companys inception. Tod Nielsen, the companys CEO of three months, and Rick Jackson, Borlands chief marketing officer and senior vice president of R&D, discussed the moves with eWEEK Senior Editor Darryl K. Taft.

/zimages/2/28571.gifClick here to read more about Borlands decision to divest its IDE tools business.

What is the bottom line of your news? How did you get to this?

One missing piece weve had in our owning of the application lifecycle has been in the quality arena. So were announcing that were acquiring Segue Software.

They have great products in the quality space. We talk about software delivery optimization; they talk about software quality optimization.

Borland had embraced Segues products as a partner.

In addition, were announcing were going to divest of our IDE businesses. So our Delphi, C++ and JBuilder businesses, were going to divest them. Those are still super-important businesses, and we think this will be a good thing for that product line and those customers because well make sure they get put in the hands of an owner that will be able to invest in and focus on them, and focus on that go-to-market model. Because right now when you think about the go-to-market for software developer channel and open source and all that versus the enterprise IT application lifecycle management … it induces too much complexity into the overall Borland progress. And for me to have a growing business that can deliver the kinds of returns that my shareholders expect, I need to focus and get that top-line growth.

/zimages/2/28571.gifRead more here about Nielsens plans to put Borland back on top.

We think that software development tools are important, but theyve been almost commoditized.

Just as weve become the multivendor platform player as far as supporting .Net and Java, on the tools side we need to support open source, we need to support JBuilder, we need to support what have you, because much like in software, how the API stack kind of moves up over time, in software development, in order to really innovate we need to move the API stack up to the whole software developer life cycle, and the IDE piece is simply a component of that overall offering.

Jackson: If you look at how our ALM business is evolving and maturing, you can see that really ALM is about the life-cycle processes. And when we talked to our customers they said what they needed from us to invest in and advance was really independent of platform, the language, therefore the IDE, and how do they manage everything throughout the life cycle.

So its that concept thats in our SDO business, which is how do you help it [software development] become a managed business process, and thats where we said we have to turn our heat there. Because all of our largest customers are pushing us on that angle, and our feeling is we think there are things we can still do in the IDE world. But its hard when every time you turn around you have EDS, Verizon, Kaiser, Pepsi, etc., saying, "No, no no, we need you to put heat over here." So we keep doing that.

And the IDE business is not going to create the next wave of innovation in ALM. Its still got opportunity for developer productivity, for merging of open-source assets with JBuilder assets, for example. But were in a position where were going to rob Peter to pay Paul. We feel like were at that point where we have to decide.

Nielsen: And we needed to get a win-win for both.

And the other thing is I think we have an opportunity because if you look at the competitive landscape, nobody else is really "incented" to innovate in the pre-deployment side. IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, BEA—all of them are focused on runtimes and say well just give the tools away. Were in a unique position where we can almost rekindle our role as software innovator in the industry.

Next Page: Targeting a new customer view.