Borland sells CodeGear to Embarcadero for $23 million

After more than two years, Borland has finally sold its CodeGear division to Embarcadero a database tools company for a mere $23 million. It's a sad ending to one of the great software companies of the 1980s and 1990s. And it shows just how badly a company can suffer when it misses out on major shifts in technology or business. Borland's developer tools, including Delphi, JBuilder and C++ defined the state of th

After more than two years, Borland has finally sold its CodeGear division to Embarcadero a database tools company for a mere $23 million. It's a sad ending to one of the great software companies of the 1980s and 1990s. And it shows just how badly a company can suffer when it misses out on major shifts in technology or business.

Borland's developer tools, including Delphi, JBuilder and C++ defined the state of the art Integrated Development Environment (IDE) since the company's early days with Turbo Pascal. OK, maybe I am being sentimental; I worked at Borland in the 1990s and helped introduce products like Delphi and JBuilder that contributed billions of dollars in revenue.

Unfortunately, Borland badly stumbled in direct competition against Microsoft's Office suite and later missed out on the seismic shift to Web-based development and open source tools like Eclipse and NetBeans. When Eclipse 1.0 launched it was only a matter of time when the open source tools would become "good enough" and developer adoption would shift away from commercial tools.

At its peak, I'm sure the Borland tools division was worth 50 or more times yesterday's sale price. But once a business gets disrupted by technology or market change, the effects can be devastating. It's not the first time it's happened and I'm sure it won't be the last.

Borland continues on in name, but the company is now focused on more high-end Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) products for corporate IT.

Frankly, I don't know how Borland's management teamcan justify a firesale price like this --less than half of 2007's revenues --but for Embarcadero it's a bargain. And hopefully it's a good outcome for customers and for Borland's development staff. There's still a huge installed base for Delphi and I am amazed at how many people I run into who used it for Windows development in the 1990s.

What do others think? Can Delphi and JBuilder make it in the new online world? What do you think of Embarcadero's strategy?

Related:

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

How to choose a low-code development platform