Borland CEO oversees changing course

Since joining Inprise in 1996, then Borland International, CEO Del Yocam (pictured) has overseen several acquisitions and reorganisations designed to focus the company's resources on enterprise tools and the middleware market. Prior to taking over at Inprise, Yocam presided over a turnaround effort at Tektronix, and served as executive vice president and chief operating officer at Apple Computer. Ted Smalley Bowen sat down with Yocam to discuss the future of Inprise.

IDG: What were the reasons behind the restructuring and divisional reorganisation of Inprise?

Yocam: Most everything that we did last year was done with a focus and direction to the enterprise. With the Visigenic [middleware] acquisition and product releases throughout the year, culminating with our application server announcement in December. There are also 3 million independent developers that have purchased our products in the past, and the more I realised we had such a franchise that we were moving away from, I knew I had to do something to reinforce that we wanted them to be part of the family.

What is the status of the reorganisation in terms of the logistics?

Jim Weil, who will lead the Inprise division in California, and John Floisand, who is head of in the facility, are in the process of putting together their teams. [Both report to Yocam.] And, we will have a corporate group of 10 to 15 people, with 25 to 50 people making the move from Scotts Valley to San Mateo. and the corporate offices are in the Scotts Valley campus for the time being. In time, we will look at a sell/lease-back deal to remain in that facility. The division will con-tinue to develop and enhance Delphi, C++ Builder, JBuilder, MIDAS [Materials Inventory Data Acquisition System] and InterBase. Inprise will focus on our enterprise tools, middleware, and application server products. We hope to have it all ironed out at end of the first quarter.

What products are strategic to moving forward?

The division is definitely focused on development tools for the individual and corporate developer. We will want to offer other companies' products with the name. We want to have the portal for the developer to be the Web site. We've been talking to vendors of third-party add-on tools, and companies with other tools that perhaps will take us further along into the Internet, as well as books and periodicals.

The America Online-Netscape-Sun deal would seem to provide a very compelling line of products and solutions. IBM is trying to put together a top-to-bottom set of solutions, and so is Microsoft. How will Inprise stand out against these to deliver the best overall enterprise application server and integration suite?

We are cross-platform, open, and scalable. We are the leader in Java, CORBA, and Windows technologies. We have the leading object request broker and the leading Java development environment - 80 per cent of the application servers out there use VisiBroker. We are an application infrastructure company.

What's wrong with the approach taken by the other vendors?

It's the proprietary nature of some of those companies.

Is Sun's wish to be both the steward of Java and a provider of Java-based products realistic? How as a partner on Java technology and competitor on products do you manage this? What should Sun do? Who could take over Java stewardship if it came to that?

There is the opportunity for them to be the father of this cross-platform, open and scalable technology. Having said that, will they go the direction of fostering this over the long term, or will they in themselves become a Microsoft on the other side?

No one company has all the great ideas, technologies, and innovation. With us, it's been smooth sailing so far, [but] the Object Management Group needs to play a bigger role. They really need to continue to be a salient voice in the industry.

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