FRAMINGHAM (08/18/2000) - Three months after squashing a proposed merger with Corel Corp., struggling tools vendor Inprise Corp. has restructured and is aggressively pursuing a cross-platform development strategy for its development tools and application servers, officials said.
The Scotts Valley, Calif.-based company plans to continue developing Linux server software and tools and expand its initiatives for Java, Windows, Solaris and Mac OS X, said Ted Shelton, senior vice president of business development at Inprise.
Inprise, formerly Borland International Inc., has also brought a new executive management team onboard, which includes Shelton and former Compuware Corp. executive Doug Barre as chief operating officer. The firm is also developing new products.
Analysts said the three-pronged approach has teeth but is contingent on strong execution, such as marketing the Inprise Linux server and expanding the JBuilder tool to new platforms such as Mac OS X.
Bill Claybrook, an analyst at Aberdeen Group Inc. in Boston, said the negated Corel deal distracted Inprise, keeping it from marketing its Linux tools and application server. "There is no standard set of Linux tools, so the opportunity is there," he said. "They have the money and reputation, but the focus was never there before."
"They're not laying idle," said Eric Klein, an analyst at The Yankee Group in Boston. "They are very much involved in product development and [gearing] up to find a sweet spot in the market. Big names like Oracle and IBM will dominate the space, but there is room for another option."
Klein added that new partnerships could rejuvenate the sluggish company.
For example, last week, Inprise licensed a tool kit to allow developers to build applications with its application server and JBuilder tools on Linux, Solaris and Windows, using IBM's Java development tools.
Last month, Inprise announced that JBuilder will also support Apple Computer Inc.'s Mac OS X. Inprise also intends to support Microsoft Corp.'s .Net framework. Microsoft owns a 10 percent stake in Inprise.
But Inprise wants to put its acquisition plans to rest. "A year ago, the company was not being managed for growth," said Shelton. "It was being managed for acquisition."