Borland prepares for life after Inprise

LONG BEACH, Calif. — As the lights went up on a stage in Long Beach, Calif. a two-foot high Styrofoam model illuminated the name Inprise.

Someone in an ape suit carrying a bone promptly walked out and smashed it to the delight of about 1,800 onlookers — approximately 100 of which are Canadian users and partners.

This was how Borland kicked off its 12th annual user conference BorCon Sunday.

David Intersimone, the company’s vice-president of developer relations, turned out to be the man in the suit destroying the Inprise model, a reference to Borland’s return to its original company name. Borland changed its name to Inprise in 1998 when it was pursuing the distributed object technologies market. The brand never took hold — after about a year the company was calling itself Inprise/Borland and by late 2000 Inprise had been scrapped entirely.

“The name change is not cosmetic. It is fundamentally everything that we do in this company. We are absolutely focused on course like a laser beam,” said Dale Fuller, president and CEO.

Fuller and Intersimone, better known as “David I” in Borland circles, gave the opening keynote in tandem. Fuller called the event a family reunion and a gathering of the Borland nation.

Fuller focused on the company’s recent success, highlighting its having made a profit in each of the last seven quarters. “We’re not just back: we’re back with a vengeance,” he said.

“We’re in the news, our stock price is up 180 per cent for the year, all our competitors are down 70 to 80 per cent, the companies that were exciting in 99 that were the dot-coms have dot-bombed.”

Fuller said the market is changing and its products are changing with it. Its software is geared around the Internet, he said, because the Internet is standardizing the world.

“It’s not about browser, it’s not about OSs, it’s not about hardware. It’s about solutions that our customers want to have,” said Fuller.

Fuller and Intersimone gave the first public showing of TeamSource. The software is designed to facilitate collaboration between disparate teams.

Like any family reunion, there were some disgruntled members. At a customer question and answer period after the keynote an unnamed developer asked why repeat customers seemed to be penalized. He said service agreements have almost doubled, from US$1,000 to US$1,900, without notice, yet the price for initial software purchases dropped.

“We’re doing a lot of things that we have to do to make sure we’re going to be here in the future. I could give away all the stuff for free, but it’ll be here for about another month and a half,” Fuller answered.

“If you’re a customer that keeps coming back to us year-in and year-out, I think with things that we’re trying to do with DSP and TeamSource in the upcoming years will allow for a way that you can be rewarded as being a loyal customer.”

On Monday, Borland also released a slew of product upgrades, including Enterprise Studio for Java, JBuilder 5 Personal and an evaluation program for Delphi Enterprise Edition.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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