Borland users give nod to merger with Corel

Reaction among several Borland users to the news that Inprise Corp. will be merging with Ottawa-based Corel Corp. is tending to toward the positive.

“I think it’s terrific. I’m very excited by the whole thing,” said Alfred Ayache, president of LastByte, a Toronto-based consultancy, and former head of the Toronto Delphi User Group. “It’s a direct result of Inprise’s move toward the Linux desktop with [Inprise’s] Delphi product.

Ayache said he isn’t concerned about future support for Inprise Windows development, something some experts say may be in question, given the dual emphasis on Linux and both companies’ rocky relationships with Microsoft Corp. in the past.

“I have no [concerns]. We’ve seen a number of tools acquired by Corel, and they did right to them,” he said, referring to Paradox and QuattroPro, two products Corel acquired from Inprise, and WordPerfect, which Corel bought from Lotus Development Corp.

“We’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that this is not an abandonment of Windows but an affirmation that they’ll be able to hit multiple operating systems,” said Angelo Serro, a technical lead at the Ohio State Department of Transportation in Columbus, Ohio. “We still know their products are very solid on the Windows side of the fence.”

In addition to an affirmation of Inprise’s strategy to branch out beyond Windows, Serro said the merger affirms his commitment to the company’s JBuilder product.

“This merger has made our management a little more comfortable with the direction of our development,” Serro said. “We know now that if the [U.S.] government were to step in on Windows and make it untenable to us, we could pick up our JBuilder development on Solaris or on Linux. It gives us yet another choice, another parachute.”

The two companies announced news of the merger on Feb.7. (Please see story on page XX.) Michael Cowpland, president and CEO of Corel, who will also head up the new merged company, said Linux was the sole motivator for the move.

“Put [our companies] together, and we have a strong Linux lineup second to none in the world.” he said.

“[We’ll be] the bridge from Windows and Solaris to Linux, which is the choice of the Internet generation,” said Dale Fuller, president and CEO of Scotts Valley-based Inprise Corp. at the time of the announcement. He is now chairman of the Corel board.

Kevin Lange, president of the Edmonton Delphi User Group and a system engineer at PartsLink in Edmonton, admitted that he wasn’t thrilled when he first heard the news.

“My initial reaction was, ‘Uh-oh, where’s Delphi going to go? But then the other reaction was [that] it seems like a very logical merger between Corel and their production of Corel Linux, [with] Inprise/Borland being one of the best producers of…Linux based development tools.”

And as a Canadian, Lange said he also has more practical concerns: “With Corel based out of Ottawa, perhaps we’ll get better Canadian support, because I would have to say Borland/Inprise is definitely a very U.S.-centric company. And being president of our user group for two years now, (I’ve found) trying to get promotional things or information from the Canadian office is difficult.”

— with files from IDG News Service