More than five months after Borland Software announced plans to sell off its IDE business, the company said it is closing in on a sale.
Borland has had inquiries from approximately a dozen interested parties about its IDE products, including the JBuilder Java tool and Delphi offering for Windows, and hopes to complete the sale by September, said Borland spokeswoman Michelle Swan.
Borland announced earlier this year that it wanted to focus on application lifecycle management and sell the IDE business and the InterBase database as a single unit. That process is moving forward as expected, Swan said.
This doesn’t mean the company has a buyer, though, Swan said.
Borland won’t name the parties that have expressed an interest in the products or offer an estimated sale price, but the list is rumored to include marquis names such as IBM, Oracle, and even Google.
Asked about any interest in acquiring the Borland offerings, IBM and Google declined to comment; an Oracle executive said Oracle is focused on its own product.
“Our full commitment is behind JDeveloper as an end-to-end, tightly integrated IDE for SOA and J2EE development,” said Ted Farrell, vice president of tools and middleware at Oracle.
Richard Grossman, president of the Los Angeles Delphi User Group, said he backs the sale of Delphi. “It’s a positive step because even [with] what’s happened so far, they’ve sort of created an internal Delphi company and concentrated people so the people who work on Delphi are dedicated to and focused on Delphi,” Grossman said.
“The main thing that Delphi users want is somebody strong” to own the technology, Grossman said.
Borland’s IDE business has been beset by the commoditization of Java IDEs from the open source Eclipse Foundation and by Microsoft’s Visual Studio juggernaut. In May, the company reported revenue from the IDE products of approximately $84 million, or 30 percent of total revenue for 2005. That’s a decline of $49 million, or approximately 37 percent, from 2004, the company said.
“It’s a very tough market,” said analyst John Andrews, president of Evans Data.
However, Borland should have no trouble finding a buyer, if the price is right, said Stephen O’Grady, principal analyst at RedMonk.
The Windows and Java tools, including JBuilder, Delphi, C#Builder, and C++Builder, and InterBase have a combined installed base of around 4.5 million users, according to Borland.
“I don’t think they’ll have difficulty finding buyers,” O’Grady said. “They’re still quite popular.”