Entries from Feb 2006 ↓

Delphi for Sale! Wonder who will Buy?

I just read the news today that Borland is going to sell it’s IDE Tools Business that includes Delphi, C++ Builder, C# Builder, JBuilder, Kylix and InterBase. Not more than 100 days on the job Tod Nielsen I shaking this up at Borland, just like I expected!  As I’m a big advocate for "burning bridges" so-to-speak (see the eWeek article for the reference) I think this is exactly what Borland needs.  Further, this is a possibility it will really be good for Delphi and other Borland tools faithful.

But the news leaves an interesting question: Who will buy, and what will be the fallout?  The question interesteds me enough I decided to document me thoughts on the matter below:

  • Oracle: Uncle Larry’s been on a buying spree lately; maybe he’ll pick up these Borland cast-offs too?  Though Oracle has development tools they don’t have quite the devoted following that Borland’s tools have.  Buying them would give Oracle some world class IDE tools and languages for programming Oracle. Of course InterBase users (are there any?) would certainly take it on the chin.
  • Microsoft: Adding the Pascal language to Visual Studio by including Delphi would seem a natural to me, but everything else overlaps. Microsoft could of course provide an upgrade path for C++ Builder, C# Builder, JBuilder, and maybe even InterBase users, but Kylix users would be left out in the cold. Heck, they might even make a bid to keep anyone else from getting Kylix!
  • Red Hat:  Red Hat might be interested in tying up this product line, especially if they open source it, but since a lot of Borland’s line runs on Windows, its seems a longshot.
  • SAP: This lumbering giant is seeing threats all around, from Oracle to SalesForce.com and they might use this toolset to give them some real programmability as compared to ABAP. Who knows which of the tools they’d use and which they’d kill. But then again, this one’s a longshot and it wouldn’t be great for the faithful.
  • Sybase: Sybase could pick up the Borland IDEs for the same reason as Oracle, and they might not even kill InterBase, they’d probably just rename it "Sybase <something>."  Of course, Sybase really is a second tier player and I don’t think purchasing these Borland assets would be great the faithful nor really do that much for Sybase’s databases.
  • IBM: Given the broad reach, IBM might just buy the userbase and roll them into WebSphere somehow.  IBM has always been able to consume practically anything. Maybe they will do this too?
  • Sun: There’s a chance Scott will buy to pick up JBuilder and Kylix, and keep the rest out of other’s hands, but I doubt that’s likely.
  • Novell: This one is interesting.  With Borland’s IDEs Novell could go toe to toe with Microsoft Visual Studio but instead optimize for Mono.  (I’ve always thought Novell should have purchased Borland years ago; maybe it will happen now.)  This is one of the best scenarios I can see for all involved, but the fact that most of the tools heavily support Windows make me think it is not as likely I it would be interesting.
  • SalesForce.com: Who’s got the most to gain? Me thinks is would be SalesForce.com.  With his AppExchange strategy, Marc Benioff could grab the Borland toolset and optimize for programming SalesForce’s APIs. Marc could also use Interbase as an engine for local caching of SalesForce.com data. If Marc buys, it could be really good for the Borland IDE tools faithful. But Marc will only maximize benefit from such as purchase if he opens access to the API to ALL SalesForce.com customers, not just Enterprise Edition and up.
  • Google: This one’s a wildcard; they certainly could afford it!  With all their web services and APIs Google is offering, it would make great sense for them to offer a great set of developer tools to the mix; they’ve already shown a willingness to provide downloadable software with Google Pack.  I can see it now; all of Borland’s products would be freely available for download from http://devtools.google.com; talk about marketshare!  Microsoft, be afraid, be very afraid. This is probably the best option I can think of for the Borland IDE tools faithful and will further upset the balance of power between the Big M and the Big G.
  • Amazon: Similar to Google, Amazon has lots of APIs it wants to offer; why not provide developer tools optimized for calling their APIs?
  • eBay: Same rationale as Amazon.

Whew!  That’s all I can think of right now, but it’s alot, no?  I’d say the best three potentials would be Novell, SalesForce.com, and Google. I didn’t mean this to be an exhaustive list so if you have ideas for potential suitors I did not mention or if you think differently about one of the potential suitors then please by all means post your thoughts as a comment below.

An Excellent Strategy: VMware Server

As many of you know, VMware has released VMware Server for FREE!  I think it is an excellent strategy for VMware. VMware Workstation is already a favorite of most leading edge developers, and this move has a good chance of cementing VMware Server into developer’s psyche as well!  Many of my loyal blog readers know that, even though I founded and run1 a .NET component and tools reseller at Xtras.Net, I am a huge proponent of infrastructure and middleware software needing to be open source or at least free. 

I commend VMware for embracing the competitive challenge of Microsoft and open-source moving into their backyard and offering the GSX Server for free. This will almost certainly help VMware establish their virtual images as the defacto standard for VMs as Adobe did their PDFs for digitized documents.  With VMware Server becoming free, software vendors will now be able to deliver complete server-based solutions as virtual images that will require almost not configuration to bring online. Hosting companies can start offering Virtual Machine hosting where you upload your VMs (but this will ideally need some excellent differencing software to cut down on huge upload times.)  Installation vendors can start adding VM deployment to their feature list.  And I’m sure there are hundreds of other things this will enable that I haven’t even concieved of!

Of course this will put huge competitve pressure on Microsoft with it’s Virtual Server, and has a chance of rendering the open source Xen project still-borne.  I’m not sure how I would suggest Xen counter this move, but if I were Microsoft I would be releasing so fast as to make the industry pundits head’s spin a Windows 2003 Server Option Pack for free that included Microsoft Virtual Server.  I’d even go so far as to release a free Windows XP Option Pack that included Virtual PC too.  Minimally they need to roll it into the next major version of Windows Server. Given VMware’s stronger market position in this type of software, the fact they VMware offered theirs for free first, and the fact EMC is no startup and can hold it’s own with Microsoft, I doubt Microsoft would run afoul of anti-trust regulations for offering their Virtual Server/Virtual PC duo for free.  If Microsoft does do this it will create a three-way competition for freely deployable VM server software and the likely competition should benefit everyone.

Now if VMware would just create some rational pricing options for VMware ESX Server instead of charging a minimum suggested retail price of $3750 for a 2CPU system!!!  I’m thinking they will do much better if they allow their pricing to scale down as low as $199 for a version that supports 1CPU and 2Gb RAM. As is, a company will have to be able to gain some serious benefit from VM before they can even consider upgrading to ESX Server.  But with the former GSX Server going free, maybe it’s in the cards.

P.S. It would also be great to see them create a lesser expensive VMware Workstation to encourage more people to try it out too.

1 UPDATE: As of May 18th, 2006, I am no longer run Xtras.Net nor did I retain any association with Xtras.Net.

Object-Relational Mapping Tool Guide for .NET Published

Just wanted to make a note here that we’ve published our How-To-Select Guide on Object-Relational Mapping Tools for .NET. Check it out!