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Ever-Booming Borland Now Acquires TogetherSoft
Ever-Booming Borland Now Acquires TogetherSoft
By: Jeremy Geelan
Jan. 1, 2000 12:00 AM
(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."
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