A Final Note on Borland

I lamented the slow death of Borland in a recent post and was roundly assailed for it by the Borland community.  I speculated that perhaps the other shoe had finally dropped at Borland with the departure of Chief Scientist Danny Thorpe, the latest in a long line of high-profile departures and the latest example of inexplicable missteps by Borland management.  Yesterday, the other shoe really did drop.  Borland is getting out of the developer tools business.  David I. and the Dartmouth crew:  I wish you luck, but this is a sad day.  I guess Danny’s departure portended more than we knew.  I suppose it was debatable before, but the old Borland we knew and loved is soon to be no more.  So long, my friend.  I wish there was some other way, but I guess we’re past that now.



Comments (13)

  1. Nick Hodges says:

    It’s not clear to me that this is a sad day, Ken,  The Delphi team sure doesn’t think it is.

    Just because the /name/ is going away, doesn’t mean that the tools won’t be able to have that "old Borland spirit".

    In fact, I’d say your previous post is even /more/ wrong than it was then.


  2. Allen Bauer says:

    Hi Ken.

     I know you and Danny go back a long way and I’ve always held a high degree of respect for your contribution to the Delphi community.  To be clear, I also do not personally hold any ill feeling about your recent posts.  If anything those posts clearly demonstrate your desire to see Delphi succeed.  People don’t tend to express sadness over things about which they don’t care.  That being said, I think your conclusions are a bit premature.  If you read my blog post I made on the morning of the announcement, I was, hopefully, clear about the fact that we’ve been fully aware of the real score over the years.  

    I remember many, many years ago sitting in Gary Whizin’s office with Chuck J. and Anders H. and how we fantisized and romantisized about the whole notion of taking Delphi private and independent.  This is *not* a new idea by any means.  It is merely an idea whose time has finally come.  Will Delphi be a breakout hit? Maybe… maybe not.  Time will certainly tell.  But I’m also very excited to be able to be involved with giving it my best shot.  I think the remaining Delphi team also feels the same way.  So either way it ultimately turns out, I want to be able to say that I did my best.

    As for continuing to lament the departure of Danny, I too feel a loss as wel.  However, to place all Delphi’s worth on Danny’s shoulders is a little unfair to both Danny and the remaining Delphi team.  I would hope that you know Danny well enough to understand that he himself understands the value of the team.  Also, to speculate on any kind of connection to the recent developments of Danny’s descision to leave Borland, is a bit of a stretch.  It’s fun to spin, speculate, and devise various conspiracies, that’s for sure… geez, Microsoft is ripe for the picking in that department 🙂

    Take care, Ken.  And all the best of luck to you and all your endeavors.

    Allen Bauer.

    Chief Scientist, Borland Software Corp.

  3. MSDN Archive says:

    Hey Allen, thanks for your post.  Glad to see you on here.  I remember you and had heard you were taking over for Danny.  Congrats on that.

    While Delphi being spun off into a separate company is better than it simply dying, the ideal situation (IMHO) would have been for Borland to get its act together and give Delphi the attention and support it deserves.  IMO, it still deserves the kind of backing and prominence that Turbo Pascal had back in the day.  That fantasizing you mentioned doing with Anders and company was because Borland was mismanaging the product.  You wouldn’t have felt that way had Borland not been screwing up six ways to Sunday.  So, as someone who’s been out of touch with Borland for many years now, I’m not quite as acclimated to their latest missteps as some are.  This seems like a horrible move from a business standpoint and runs counter to what they supposedly determined they were about just a few years ago.

    I guess this might be a case of making lemonade when the world hands you lemons, but, for me, I’d rather not have been handed the lemons to start with.  I still believe in Delphi, and I wish Borland did, too.

    And one more clarification:  I’m not saying that the whole of Borland or Delphi dies with Danny leaving.  By "portend" I meant it was a sign of larger trouble.  Looks like I was right.  I meant no disrespect to you or the rest of the team.  But how long would you have stayed around had things kept going the way they were?  How about your peers?  I’ll bet not very long.  This spin off is perhaps the last best hope for Delphi, but it should never have been necessary.  A company of Borland’s size should welcome and even emphatically embrace a business rumored to be in the $60-100 million range.  It’s not as though they couldn’t do developer tools justice and ALM.  The two dovetail nicely when done right.  I guess Borland just wasn’t up for that.

    Danny’s departure alone doesn’t spell doom for Borland or for Delphi, but I think the departure of all its top talent would.  Hopefully, this spin off move will forestall that at least a little while.

  4. MSDN Archive says:

    Hey Nick, good to see you on here.  I remember you and respect your opinion.  I honestly hope you’re right.  For me, this is all very disconcerting.  I still believe Delphi is a world class development platform, but I couldn’t help but view all the bad news of late like the passing of a friend.  Maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe we should be celebrating the birth of something exciting and new, or maybe that’s all spin, and we should be having a wake.  I certainly hope it’s the former.

  5. wpSlider says:

    Are you somehow implying that Danny knew (as in had actual knowledge not speculated) this was going to happen and therefore left? I doubt it. I think these 2 events are actually not connected at all.

    Who knows, maybe if Danny had known this was going to happen, he might have stuck around. It would be great to hear his take on the current events.

    I for one can’t see this being great for Delphi/C++Builder/JBuilder and the rest because it will take some time for the new company to gain traction and prove that they will provide the developers with what they need and also be solid enough that they will be with us for a long time to come. By then, a lot of the uncertainty will have eroded a large number of users who can’t get approval for new projects to be based on a product from a new upstart company with an uncertain future.

  6. Allen Bauer says:

    Thanks for your response, Ken.  I certainly appreciate the angst you may feel surrounding all of this.  Believe me, there’s plenty to be anxious about.  I also think there is a lot we can celebrate.  To say that Delphi is only relevent within a "Borland" container is also, in many ways, selling it short.  While there is a lot of history and brand recognition around the Borland name, I also think there is some negative baggage as well.  This could be an opportunity for Delphi to finally free itself of the shackels.  I really liked Anders H.’s comments on the Behind the Code video.  "There is the Borland that IS, and the Borland that always wants to BE"  The problem has long been that those two things have been somewhat orthogonal.  Born of the same trunk, to be clear, but heading down two different branches.

    How many different management teams over the years have tried to keep all the things together?  They’ve never been able to manage a break out.  The only common factor has been this constant struggle between these two markets.  In this case someone finally is thinking about how best to ensure that both sides of the business can attain proper focus and investment.

  7. MSDN Archive says:

    wpSlider:  I’d be happy to ask Danny, but he’s on a safari in Africa right now 🙂  He’s in for some news when gets back though!

    Allen:  I truly hope it works out.  I guess we’ll just have to see.  In the meanwhile, good luck to you and your comrades.

  8. Xepol says:

    Don’t wish the team well, suggest to your bosses that there are a lot of Delphi developers out there and that MS should buy the division just to bring them on board.  MS could gain a LOT of developers and keep the language going strong for a long long time.  It has the benefit of being both win32 and dotnet capable.  The Delphi developers would gain the support and resources available from Microsoft in the process.

    It is a win-win arrangement if you ask me.

    (yes, there are things like JBuilder, but those could be donated to Eclipse as show of good will, or sold to another vendor if they really wanted it, who knows, there might even be something worth folding in J#)

  9. XDX says:

    The possible loss of Delphi and C/C++ Builder is something that will surely impact negatively the entire Windows platform since Microsoft does not provide a decent alternative to VCL developers, in both cases (Delphi & Builder).

    Being a C/C++ programmer for the last 16 years and having worked with both companies compilers (from the DOS days of MS-C 6.0 and Turbo-C++ 3.0) I can assure you that Microsoft .NET environment and it’s C# & C++ combination is not a viable solution for porting, in my case, C/C++ Builder applications since unlike .NET, Borland IDEs offer a rich & powerful “framework” (VCL) integrated with a proven language (C/C++) while keeping full support for Win32 calls and all this with the most (astonishing) hassle-free way.

    On “the other hand” .NET infrastructure and it’s main-stream language (C# and VB) works quiet the opposite way frustrating me with it’s peculiarities and the need to mix between C# and C++ wrappers if I want to gain in (poor) R.A.D. developing especially if I want to design something beyond a Database (that’s way I uninstalled VS .NET for good) .

    So my verdict is staying with C/C++ Builder 6.0 and latter on with BDS 2006 as long as their code works on current and future Windows platforms and then, provided that my IDE die (no new compatible versions), switching to a non Microsoft, probably Open-Source, solution (and why not? Operating System).

  10. bezdar1 says:

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  11. marvilkg says:

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