Borland Looks Back— and Pushes Forward

The developer-which turns 20 this week-is building off legacy to challenge IBM's Rational division in the application lifecycle management space.

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Borland Software Corp. is thinking big once again. A one-time thorn in the side of Microsoft Corp., Borland has a new target: IBM and its Rational division. Borland is celebrating its 20th anniversary this week at its annual BorCon conference in San Jose, Calif., and CEO Dale Fuller and his team have positioned the Scotts Valley, Calif., development software tools maker to compete with Rational, which IBM acquired at the beginning of the year, by touting Borlands independence over IBMs size.

Both companies are attacking the ALM (application lifecycle management) space with tools that take users and developers through the requirements and design phases to coding, testing and maintaining applications.

"What we found is that they [Rational] had a great idea and absolutely the right idea, and they were a lot of years ahead of their time," Fuller said in an interview. "But what they also found is they had to bring all this stuff together and provide a whole solution to the whole life cycle. They said they were going to do that five years ago, and they still say theyre going to do it sometime in the future."

/zimages/6/28571.gifRead the full interview with Borlands Fuller and Blake Stone.

People may have counted Borland out after its early skirmishes with Microsoft, but it has stuck around because of its focus on the developer. Borland was founded in 1983 by larger-than-life entrepreneur Philippe Kahn, who touted Borland products as being for developers and by developers. Borland gained a following after the delivery of its first major product, Turbo Pascal, which many consider to be the first commercial IDE (integrated development environment).

Borland went on to become widely known for its IDE expertise, a legacy that continues today with JBuilder, the companys Java IDE, as well as C++Builder and Delphi. This week at BorCon, Borland will announce Delphi 8, code-named Delphi Octane, which has been enhanced to support Microsofts .Net platform. Borland will also demonstrate JBuilder X and how it has integrated tools Borland acquired, including those from TogetherSoft Corp. and Starbase Corp., that address the development life cycle and make the companys ALM strategy real.

"When Microsoft was still stuck in a traditional environment, we were continuously adding capabilities into the development environment and expanding the environment," said David Intersimone, vice president of developer relations at Borland and an 18-year company veteran. "So all the acquisitions we did in the last year were based on 18 to 19 years of tight connection with developers, feedback from developers, a whole worldwide developer community constantly pushing us. The acquisitions extended that reach across the development process, across the software life cycle."

Blake Stone, Borlands chief technology officer, said the "application life cycle is not something that blindsided us. Its been on our radar for long enough that we knew we wanted to grow and build an organization around solving these kinds of problems.

"Borlands goal is to make sure we have an organization capable of taking that message to market and making sure we have the right products for those spaces. And over the last four years, we changed the path of the organization so that were capable of going to market and that we have the right products," said Stone.

Next page: Borlands ALM in action.