CodeGear to supply 1 million dev tool licenses to Russia

Russia looking to improve computer science and IT education

In a major boost for CodeGear's development tools, the company has been awarded a contract by the Russian Federal Agency of Education to provide 1 million seat licenses of its Delphi and C++Builder products.

CodeGear's software will be used as part of the Russian government's strategy to bolster computer science and IT education in an economy that has been driven by oil and gas exploration, said CodeGear CEO Jim Douglas. U.S. and Russian software vendors are creating a software bundle to be distributed at universities and secondary schools throughout Russia, he said. The arrangement also features software from other vendors, such as Corel, Douglas said. "For us, it's one of the largest deals that we've done in [the] Europe, Middle East, Africa region as a company," Douglas said.

The entire deal is part of a Russian federal initiative called the National State Project of High-Grade Education. The total value of the deal is worth US$100 million, but CodeGear would not say what its share of that pie will be.

Both Delphi and Delphi for .Net will be provided along with C++Builder. The total number of licenses distributed for the three products will reach 1 million.

Delphi is focused on native, compiled Windows application development on the desktop. Asked if the deal represents a revival for Delphi, which had been a Borland Software product, Douglas acknowledged that this might be the perception. "From our perspective, [Delphi has] never been diminished," he said.

While Microsoft is pushing enterprise-level application development, sectors like engineering and science seek native, compiled applications, Douglas said. "This [deal] is just a continued indicator of Delphi in that segment," he said. CodeGear with the deal is focusing on client-server desktop applications.

CodeGear, Douglas said, does not compete much with Microsoft's Visual Studio platform anymore. Microsoft's focus is on .Net and managed code, while CodeGear is centered on the native compiled space, although it does have .Net capabilities.

CodeGear's offering in the managed code space is its JBuilder product for Java application development in the enterprise, Douglas said.

CodeGear, meanwhile, is making product plans for the year that include adding Unicode capabilities for internationalization to Delphi and C++Builder. This will be included in the 2008 versions of the products due out in the first half of this year.

Also planned are language enhancements for Delphi and a second release of CodeGear's Delphi for PHP, which will identified as version 1.1 and be more robust, Douglas said.

CodeGear was spun out of Borland about a year ago to focus on development tools. But CodeGear still is owned by Borland, which now concentrates on the application lifecycle management space. Plans still call for CodeGear to become a separate, independent company.

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