Back in the late ’90s, Borland Software, one of the past kings of the PC software market, disappeared without a trace. Battered from heavy competition and wounded by a loss of focus, the company changed its name (to the highly forgettable Inprise), deserted much of its longtime customer base and slowly began to sink beneath the waves.
Things have changed recently, however. A new management team, a return to its core competency as a producer of high-quality development tools (including Delphi and Kylix, which allow for cross-platform Linux and Windows development), a focus on Web services and the reemergence of the Borland name have once again brought the company to the surface.
“Borland is back in the play,” says Tom Murphy, program director for the Meta Group. Murphy notes that Borland’s primary strength lies in its strong ties to developers, who could ultimately give the company an entry point into its next market target?enterprise-class application servers (a new version of Borland’s AppServer is slated for November).
It won’t be an easy road to success, Murphy cautions. Large competitors, including BEA Systems, IBM and Microsoft, already control significant market- and mind share. Only time will tell if Borland is up to the challenge.