Inprise/Borland Embraces Apple

SAN FRANCISCO (07/11/2000) - Inprise/Borland Corp. Monday officially pledged its support for Apple Computer Inc.'s next operating system Mac OS X. This is the U.S. tools developer's first foray into the Macintosh world and was announced by the company's chief at the vendor's Borland Developers' conference in San Diego, California.

The Scotts Valley, California-based software vendor announced plans for JBuilder for Mac OS X, a version of Inprise/Borland's Java IDE (integrated development environment), which is due to debut early next year.

"This is the first real development tool on the Mac for the last eight years," Dale Fuller, Inprise/Borland interim president and chief executive officer told IDG News Service in a phone interview Tuesday. He said that the move to support Apple's OS is part of his company's plan to enable developers to deploy their applications on as many platforms as possible. JBuilder already supports application development on the Windows, Linux and Solaris operating systems.

The Macintosh news met with a rousing reception at the Borland conference from the more than 3,000 developers in attendance, according to Fuller. "I was blown away by the response from a typically Windows crowd, it knocked their socks off," he said.

JBuilder for Mac OS X will support Apple's upcoming Aqua GUI (graphical user interface) allowing developers to create Java applications which run on the new Macintosh operating system and can make use of Aqua's design elements, according to Inprise/Borland. Mac OS X will include support for Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Java 2 Platform, Standard Edition (J2SE).

The Macintosh version of JBuilder is set to become available when Apple launches Mac OS X early next year.

Inprise/Borland also demonstrated its Linux RAD (rapid application development) tool codenamed Kylix at the conference. "We're dribbling Kylix out, showing each program step," Fuller said. "We're very close (to shipping), we will have it out this year."

First announced in September of last year, Kylix will support Borland's Delphi, as well as the C and C++ programming languages. Kylix will enable developers to both create new applications and port existing programs to the Linux OS, including those written in Microsoft Corp.'s Visual Basic. [See "COMDEX MIAMI:

Corel and Inprise Band for Linux," Sept. 28, 1999.]Another key message Fuller was communicating to developers at the conference was that application creation is no longer platform dependent. "It's all about the network -- how you take applications and run them on the network in terms of scalable architecture," he said. Inprise/Borland's Application Server technology comes into play in this area, as technology that helps manage and deploy the development of scalable applications for the Internet, he added.

Fuller stressed that Inprise/Borland is fully refocused on its core customer base -- the developer community. Before he joined the company in April of last year, the software vendor had made a number of moves that seemed to be taking the firm further and further away from its mainstay customers.

"It's all about developers," Fuller said. "A year and two months ago, we recommitted to really refocus on developers, that's all our business is."

He also emphasized that Inprise/Borland is now a company that delivers its software on time. In the past, the tools vendor had ended up delivering products that were sometimes years late or, conversely, rushed buggy products to market too quickly. The company now doesn't communicate externally a fixed date for shipping for any of its software, Fuller said, adding, "I've re-echoed our commitment to the (developer) community that we will not ship products before they're done."

Another way to ensure that products appear in a timely and bug-free fashion is Inprise/Borland's emphasis on accountability, Fuller said. He restructured the business into three units -- Java, RAD and Enterprise. Each unit has general managers who are responsible for making the decisions on products and marketing as well as research and development. "Previously, there was a lot of finger pointing at walls," he said. "Now, accountability is measured on a daily basis as we go forward."

Fuller pointed to the company's recent delivery record. "Delphi 5.0 was on time, JBuilder 3.0 and 3.5 and Application Server 4.0 were all on time over the last 12 months," he said.

Inprise/Borland, based in Scotts Valley, California, can be reached at +1-831-431-1000 or via the Internet at http://www.inprise.com/.

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