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 Dr.Bob Under The Hood of... Inprise
See Also: Dr.Bob's Borland.comments...

Early in May 1998, right after the name change from Borland to Inprise, I had a number of meetings with Inprise people in Amsterdam (Zack Urlocker, Del Yocam and Wim Hoek, among others) and I attended (i.e. performed at) the First Belgian Delphi & JBuilder User Conference, where Wim Hoek also had to explain the move from the name "Borland" to "Inprise" to a number of people (a most entertaining question from a guy in the audience was: "Hmm, Inprise? Never heard of. Do you sell any Delphi add-on tools by chance?")...

Inprise will be the (mother) company name, and it will be the "brand" name for the (so-called) high end middle-ware tools, such as Entera, OLEnterprise, MIDAS, and the new Application Server, etc. The VisiGenic Object Broker will keep the name "VisiGenic", by the way, since most people know that name (so it'll be "the VisiGenic CORBA Object Broker from Inprise Corporation"). And the same is true for Delphi, C++Builder, JBuilder, IntraBuilder, Visual dBASE and the BDE. So, it will indeed be "Borland Delphi 4 from Inprise Corporation" - or just "Delphi 4" for short ;-)

Now that I had over a month to think about the whole case, I believe I'm fairly positive. The (brand) name "Borland" has always been (and will always be) connected to a feeling of good quality development tools (for a relative low price - at least that's what the original reputation was). But in the market for "middleware", Borland has no big name. That was also one of the reasons why InterBase is now a separate company (and you haven't heard the last from InterBase, mark my words please). So, in the market for middleware and corporate (enterprise) systems and departments, there is need for a new face. A new image. With a new name, called "Inprise". And in fact, it's not the company Borland that needs changing, because if you look (back) closely, you'll notice a number of strategic points in time where the company already changed. The merger with OEC might have been a bit unexpected, but the take-over of VisiGenic is a stroke of genius. Now Inprise not only has the CORBA broker to integrate in the (relatively) "low-end" Delphi, JBuilder, C++Builder, etc. but also in the high-end stuff like the Application Server, and probably a lot more from Inprise (to come). And if that's not enough, the merger of the two companies also enables Inprise (the sum of Borland and VisiGenic) to enter/work in/with the corporate/enterprise market in a much better way. The sales people from Borland and the (CORBA) consultants from VisiGenic will be a combined force from Inprise to really invade the high-end enterprise market they want to address with direct sales now.

What does it all mean for us (the "low-end" tool user)? Nothing bad, but only good things. For one thing, it will make the mother company Inprise stronger. And also don't forget that now we have JBuilder 2 with built-in CORBA support. And I expect the same with the upcoming Delphi 4 and all other upcoming "low-end" tools. And at the same time, the high-end (middle-ware etc.) tools from Inprise will also be available, to connect to our stuff. But with CORBA we can of course talk to just about anyone (over 800 partners have licensed the VisiGenic CORBA Object Broker).
In my particular business (of knowledge bases "custom" applications) Borland (ehum, Inprise) has always produced tools and solutions that were capable of doing what we needed a year later. So as a result, my company has always been able to be a front-runner. And as far as I can see, that will not change. Not by a long shot. In fact, I truly believe that Inprise has really "made my day" as a developer.

Q. Wouldn't it be easy to spend all money into making the brand name BORLAND a good middleware name? How much more money will it need to make a noname-name INPRISE into a good name?

A. Let's face it: the company and name Borland has gone through a lot of bashing in recent years. Not so long ago (and still, if you read some ZD reports' sites) Borland was considered a "weak" company, stock went down, people were talking about possible take-over candidates, etc. And while those days are over (and some people who remained confident in Borland (and it's stock) are now quite happy), the past reputation is "legacy baggage" that will stick with the Borland name in the market forever. To us, Borland is a producer of good quality tools. To a big enterprise, Borland may still sound like a non-player. While the new brand Inprise may in fact turn out to be something completely different. Not at all the same as the company that brought us SideKick and Phillipe Kahn...

Oh well, only time will tell for sure...

               Bob Swart (aka Dr.Bob -

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