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Ever-Booming Borland Now Acquires TogetherSoft
Ever-Booming Borland Now Acquires TogetherSoft

(November 1, 2002) - TogetherSoft Corporation, the company that recently gobbled up WebGain, found out this week what it is like to be the gobblee rather than the gobbler: TogetherSoft is in turn going to be acquired-by Borland Software Corporation.

With this transaction, software giant Borland is notching up its sixth acquisition this year alone, and its measure of respect for the quality of TogetherSoft and its 4,000 customers is clearly reflected in what analysts have called the "very reasonable" acquisition price of $185 million-comprised of $82.5 million in cash and 9,050,000 shares of Borland common stock.

"It's been a very exciting couple of weeks," says Borland's Senior VP of Business Development, Ted Shelton, speaking exclusively to JDJ Industry Newsletter.

Last week's acquisition for Shelton and the Borland management team at Scotts Valley, California, was of StarBase. But that time it was an all-cash tender offer for an aggregate purchase price of just $24 million ($2.75 per share), a mere drop in the bucket compared to this one. The strategy behind the TogetherSoft move is much more interesting, as is the question of assessing the consequences it may or may not have on the Java tools market.

It doesn't sound, for example, like there will be much need or houseroom in Borland for the WebGain suite of products that TogetherSoft just acquired. So what's the point of even bothering to acquire the WebGain IDE, Visual Café Enterprise, along with the rest of the company?

Shelton does not duck the issue. "I'll concede the point that there are elements of TogetherSoft's product path-the acquisition of WebGain for example," he says, "that overlap with the product path of Borland."

"We believe JBuilder is the de facto standard for Java development," he continues, not needing really to spell out what that inevitably means for the destiny of WebGain Studio Java development tools. Borland is hardly likely to champion an alternative to JBuilder when it comes to automating the creation and integration of Web sites for online businesses.

In general though, Shelton contends, the two product lines are genuinely complementary rather than mutually exclusive. With TogetherSoft's products, customers get software and services that they can use to integrate software design, deployment, and debugging processes. With Borland, they get technology used in the development, deployment, integration, and management of software applications. The combination is what excites Shelton: "Customers will now get the benefit of these two visions, making us the only company delivering this new category: 'Design-Driven Development.'"

So what will now happen now to Together ControlCenter, currently in version 6.0 and fast catching up with Rational Rose and Rational XDE as an integrated application development environment?

According to TogetherSoft founder Peter Coad, also speaking exclusively with JDJ Industry Newsletter, with Borland the future of ControlCenter software-used by developers and operations managers within enterprises to share common development diagrams, languages, and building block components-is in very safe hands indeed. Henceforth, as he sees it, it will be possible to move beyond the TogetherSoft vision of model-driven design in which the model and the code are kept in sync, toward a more integrated situation in which "it is not just the models and code that are always in sync but everything that's involved in the development process: programmers, designers, and managers."

In other words Coad sees the sale to Borland as an "accelerator" (his word) for the widening and deepening of the mission which for him began as long ago as 1989, when he and his cofounder and longtime CTO, Dietrich Charisius, first began their quest to introduce model-driven development to the software development world.

"With Borland we can get it into the hands of people," Coad says, approvingly.

It wasn't by accident that TogetherSoft comes to be joining Borland in software matrimony, Coad observes. "I had talked to the other major powerhouses," he says, "and of them all these are the men and women I found I admire more than any others."

What caught his attention about Borland, Coad says, was the success of the present Borland management group in taking a 20-year old company that had, frankly, lost its way-he is thinking here probably of the phase when the company changed its name to Inprise and seemed not to understand the value of its own assets (the Delphi programming language, its InterBase database software, and its Java-based JBuilder application development software.

It is their success in turning Borland round that appealed to Coad and Charisius, who are both looking forward moving the whole TogetherSoft story to the next level, empowering the developer and his managers, and (in a piece of vintage Coadspeak) "expanding the gentle euphoria of being in flow."

Was the money a big influencer in accepting Borland as a suitor? Coad leaps at then opportunity to answer this one: "I have never met an entrepreneur who is in it for the money," he notes, adding: "For me it's about improving the ways that people work together."

Does he think that software development plays any kind of role in a bigger picture, then? Heck, yes. "For me it is about increasing the economic capacity of entire regions of the world,"he gushes. It is truly the Next Big Thing so far as he is concerned.

"I swam a lot growing up," says Coad, rounding off the interview, "and believe me I am raring to go on this. We have the obligatory quiet period coming up,"-while due diligence is carried out and the paperwork of the deal is squared away-"but then I just cannot wait to jump in the pool."


About Jeremy Geelan
Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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Reader Feedback: Page 1 of 1

Not mentioned is that Borland also
acquired StarBase, which deals with
Requirements Management and Version
Control in the same league as Rational.

The piece still missing is the automated
(verification) testing (though StarBase and Together both integrate well with
other products that take care of that part.

Borland is one step away from being able
to close the loop for an environment that automates the complete software development life cycle.

Lets hope that Borland uses their newly acquired tools for their own development, and adds focus to their customer support. My experiences with Together have been phenomenal in the customer support arena.

This is great news for the developer community! We might finally see the Rose begin to wilt. I have always considered TogetherSoft a more "usable" tool than Rational products. This should help to propel Java ahead of .NET.

Scott Stanlick

As a matter of fact, now we have only 3 chices:
- truly open source NetBeans with SunONE as enterprise level IDE and lack of interest from another tool and appserver vendors;
- open source Eclipse, managed by IMB-led consortium, which could lead to creation of enterprise level development platform; but in fact, IBM's leadership means that only WSAD tied to WAS have being born here;
- 100% proprietary JBuilder.

Well, there are Oracle, Sybase, MetroWerks, etc., but only 3 platforms above can be named general purpose development IDE now, IMHO.

What I do not like here, is that we got only Borland going to build fully integrated _general_purpose_ Java development platform, but everybody knows how tough is to deal with their support, slow newsgroup servers, absent/late trial versions and strange upgrade policy.

Is competition dead here?

This will be a challenging task for Borland to develop a strategy to sell an integrated solution with Togethersoft.
We have been users of Rational tools and because of the fractured way Rational repackages their tool offerings, our Java group fully adopted Togethersoft for our requirements and design tool of choice. Don't turn Together into an elephant!

For those using Symantec Cafe and WebGain, looks like there is a limited lifespan to the product line.

I've swithced over and stuck with IBM VisualAge for the past couple of years. However, because of this change of events, I may need to seriously consider giving the Borland suite another try!

We were of the impression that such "money talks" kind of thing happens only in Microsoft domain. Peter coad was considered to be of the type who stood for the developer community. Borland had very meagere support in India while together's resellers still did a commendable job on tech support for a complex product. Now only time has to say weather together's statement "improving the ways that people work together." holds good

Well, I do not view this merger as a very good thing for the customers, as it effectively wipes out competition.

I found Borland's products and customer support mediocre in comparison to what TogetherSoft delivered. Borland's update policy was awkward, as they delivered updates, which did really never provide any value at least for our case. Borland's UML integration was indeed nearly useless.

So, I hope that after the merger, we'll see that Borland is rather adopting the excellent Together technology and customer support attitude, rather that vice versa.

Personally, I would rather see JBuilder to die than Together Control Center, which just deserves a better code editor and CVS integration.

Thomas Gulden
Munich, Germany

This is a collaboration that is long over due. Tremendous resources have been wasted by both companies. Borland's inferior UML, and TogetherSoft's inferior IDE technologies have only delayed what should have happened years ago: the collaboration of these two best-of-breed products.

Instead of brushing TogetherSoft aside, Borland should have been courting them to more fully support their products including Interbase, JDataStore and Borland Enterprise Server.

Likewise, instead of seeking to topple Borland, TogetherSoft should've been looking for ways to integrate their modeling tools into JBuilder.

Hopefully Borland will expedite the integration of Together's UML functionality into JBuilder so we can all become more productive at designing and developing robust, feature-rich, world-class solutions.

The impact of this last acquisition rounds out Borlands Java Development Capabilities to include a complete solution -- IF they can integrate it all together. Capabilities of 2002 acquisitions:

* Control Center: Excellent UML - model-driven, refactoring IDE software (editor was little to be desired)
* Web Gain IDE: Very solid IDE with internal/integrated Configuration Management capabilities
* StareBase: One of the few/true integrated Version and Change control systems with excellent release management.

Put all this with JBuilder's IDE and you could have the best of the best...finally a complete solution. No need to get a UML-modeling tool, a version control system, a defect/tracking system and an IDE.

Cannot wait!!!

Now, the one thing that Borland lacks is a good EJB container...when is that acquisition coming?

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