May 8, 2008

Delphi Jumps Ship: Welcome Embarcadero

Delphi has a new owner, along with all other CodeGear products... here are some facts, links, and thoughts.

As you probably know by now, Delphi has a new owner. After 25 years of Borland Turbo Pascal and later Borland Delphi, after the Inprise fiasco and Borland ALM focus (a fiasco, as well?), two years after the announcement that Borland was trying to sell its IDE tools, at last we know what lies ahead. And the future looks brighter than it was a few days ago...

After so long, the Delphi community is going to say farewell to Borland. This is partially sad (as a few people mentioned) but it was about time to distance Delphi from the company and the management than sank the ship, while they kept cheering and dancing. I'm not sure if it is Delphi that's leaving Borland or, at the opposite, the real Borland, the barbarians Borland, the developers Borland, the Scotts Valley Borland, the good-old-Borland that's now sailing free, setting its own course, and kicking off the remnants of a company that took over and "usurped" its name for far too long.

That name we won't have any more (well unless some big buys the ALM assets and sells the name back to Embarcadero, but I'm dreaming here!), and probably even the young CodeGear brand is not going to survive. I don't particularly like the Embarcadero Technologies name, but it certainly accounts for a few good puns... and will probably get used to it anyway. Here is the formal announcement: "With more than $100 million in annual revenue and over 500 employees worldwide, the combined companies will operate under the Embarcadero Technologies name."

Some Facts About the Acquisition

  • Borland is going to get about 30 million dollars, even if Embarcadero is going to spend 23 millions. The reason is that Borland is going to receive money of current product sales that are still not part of the balance sheet (accounts receivable).
  • Embarcadero Technologies is buying CodeGear, but as the two companies are about the same size, it looks more like a merger than an acquisition. Also, it looks an extremely friendly merger, as (former) CodeGear employees sound quite happy in their blog posts.
  • How comes a company the size of Embarcadero can shell out such an amount of money? It comes from Embarcadero parent company, the real owner and buyer, Thoma Cressey Bravo. With a current portfolio of software companies (one of their many sectors) totaling approximately 2 billion dollars in revenues, this is not exactly a small player, even if a financial one.
  • TCB, by the way, recently bought InstallShield.
  • CodeGear has kept doing quite well. Its first quarter with revenues at 12.2 million dollars (earnings were not detailed, AFAIK) was in line with the previous year. Not astonishing like the 4th quarter 2007, but not bad either. Still Borland overall lost another 4 million dollars, before considering GAAP elements that place the loss at 22.3 millions. Nice we are leaving and don't have to worry any more!

There is certainly much more to say, but at least I wanted to set a few facts straight.

Some Links to News and Comments

I know you've been deluged with links to official announcements, blogs posts, and more. I don't want to provide all the links I have... but a few is probably already too many! I'll skip the official announcements I already linked yesterday...

  • The main thread in the newsgroups, with many posts by DavidI and Nick Hodges, among others. (I'm glad to have an AJAX version of the NNTP front end, as the thread is quite huge!)
  • Allen Bauer, first and second post
  • Nick Hodges is juiced up
  • DavidI blogs here
  • Greg Keller (Embarcadero Product Manager) has a great post (and yes, he does mention Delphi, not only Java and dynamic scripting languages).
  • A critical post with interesting replies by Greg and Nick.
  • And for the worst title look no further than sys-con. if "dumping" is the term use to sell the only part of your company making money, you are probably a finance genius.

In Greg's post read in particular this comment by the author himself: "We’re here to build a business that serves and grows these traditional bases while moving into exciting new emerging areas. To prove this point somewhat, while Embarcadero will be the go forward name of the company, we are so enchanted with the history and ‘cleanliness’ of the CodeGear portfolio that Embarcadero’s ‘traditional’ portfolio will likely be rolled into a parallel branded business unit to be known as provider!"

Wow, this might mean that the CodeGear brand is not going to be lost, after all! And, even more, that Delphi is far from dead: Embarcadero seems to understand there is a huge value in "traditional client/server" development, as they do have products in the same area.

Some More Thoughts

One fact is certain. Delphi is now in a stronger and safer harbor than it has even been for its entire life. Since Delphi 1 days, I kept hearing the mantra "good product, but Borland won't survive 'till the end of the year". Borland did survive, and Delphi did survive (far longer than PowerBuilder, VB for Win32, and all of its competitors)... but now it can even prosper. Let's open all of our sails, let's the wind blow strong, our new ship is setting the course for another 10 years of Delphi, CodeGear Delphi, Embarcadero Delphi, or Borland Delphi is you still like calling it that way. Jump with Delphi on the new Embarcadero ship... Go, Delphi, go!



Delphi Jumps Ship Welcome Embarcadero 

AFAIK, PowerBuilder is still alive:
Comment by Luigi D. Sandon on May 8, 13:04

Delphi Jumps Ship Welcome Embarcadero 

Very exciting.

Yes, I have said all along that Borland should have 
been selling the ALM part of the business and keeping 
Codegear and it does remain even more of a mystery 
why they did not do so. I look forward to being 
enlightened in this regard and discovering what 
brilliance is lurking there that we have overlooked. 
I have little doubt that in fact it is corporate 
politics, incompetence, denial and stubborn 
resistance to change at its worst combined with 
extreme self-interest, and my bet is that Borland 
will soon sink without trace and, as you say, 
hopefully we can get the name back.

Codegear and us are well rid of them and we can move
forward at last.
Comment by John on May 8, 14:56

Delphi Jumps Ship Welcome Embarcadero 

In a world where java and php are two of the most 
dominant languages, what chance has Delphi when its 
new parent has experience only in the areas covered 
by its stablemates JBuilder and possibly "Delphi for 
php" and none in Oject Pascal?
Comment by Emotional on May 8, 15:04

Delphi Jumps Ship Welcome Embarcadero 

You are spot on Marco. I had preferred that the
Borland name stayed with the compilers rather than
with the ALM.  But nevermind it is more important that
Delphi (and the other product names) stay.

I also see it as an advantage that it is a private
held company. Then we should no longer hear these SOX
excuses about roadmaps etc.

I am optimistic about this deal, until proven
otherwise. Hope this will work out well.
Comment by Richard Foersom on May 8, 15:17

Delphi Jumps Ship Welcome Embarcadero 

 Delphi as a name might have a better chance now, but 
the Delphi we used to know (Pascal) I don't know

by the way, Delphi survived far longer than VB for 

VB is still one of the most popular languages, and it 
actually managed to make it over .NET, whereas Delphi 
failed miserably, thanks to Borland
Comment by Eber Irigoyen [] on May 8, 19:50

Delphi Jumps Ship Welcome Embarcadero 

Delphi looks to be on Embarcadero radar and has been
mentioned a few times. I mean Delphi for Win32, the
best client/server development tool out there.

I stand corrected on PowerBuilder, although it seems
far from relevant these days (compared to Delphi). VB
.NET is a totally different product, and you have to
rewrite your code completely... VB classic (Win32) is
actually still heavily in use, despite Microsoft
dropping it.

Comment by Marco Cantù [] on May 8, 19:54

Delphi Jumps Ship Welcome Embarcadero 

This is great news, now hopefully Delphi and C++
Builder will get the development focus they so richly
deserve. I've been using Delphi/C++ Builder, and
buying related books ;-) , for about 10 years now and
I don't intend to stop any time soon.

Good times!
Comment by B Ford on May 8, 20:31

Delphi Jumps Ship Welcome Embarcadero 

What else can I say? :-)
Comment by Chee Wee Chua [] on May 9, 08:37

Delphi Jumps Ship Welcome Embarcadero 

 Anyone want to lay bets on how long Borland lasts as
a company?   As a developer who grew up on TP,
developed with Delphi and C++ for years, I have mixed
emotions about seeing Borland collapse, but I am glad
that Delphi has found a new home.  I hope Embarcadero
manages and develops the product well.  

On another note, we have dropped Starteam (our code
management system that Borland now owns) and moved to
Perforce.  Reasons:

1. Perforce is a better product, more in tune with
developer needs to manage a code base
2. Price, to get the features Perforce offers out of
the box, you need to purchase Enterprise+ version of
3. Product Integration.
Comment by hoho on May 10, 04:52

Delphi Jumps Ship Welcome Embarcadero 

I couple of years ago I made up my mind to switch to 
Delphi. I had been a VB6 developer for more than ten 
years and, after MS discontinued their most popular 
programming language (Marco is right when he says 
that VB.NET is a completely different beast), I felt 
betrayed by them and did not feel like trusting them 
again in the foreseeable future.

I develop shareware programs for the Italian public 
and I have found in Delphi what was only a dream to 
me when I used VB6, i.e. the ability to make 
standalone executables and a much more powerful 
development tool.

When I hear that Borland and CodeGear have just sold 
Delphi off, it breaks my heart. It looks like they 
couldn't wait to get rid of it, as if it were a hot 

Honestly, I am not very optimistic about the future 
that lies ahead for Delphi as my concern is that MS 
may just break compatibility with Win32 API to force 
us to move to .NET. For those like me who produce 
shareware applications, switching to .NET would mean 
shooting themselves in the foot. The latest version 
of the .NET Framework is indecently sizeable and no 
OS is shipped with it (Vista included).

So, long live Delphi, if nothining else because when 
it dies my career as a programmer will come to an 
end. One thing is cetain in my heart: only when the 
sun ceases to shine, will I .NET!
Comment by Pasquale Esposito [] on May 14, 00:15

Delphi Jumps Ship Welcome Embarcadero 

 Is it possible to know how much Embarcadero shares 
are possessed directly or indirectly by Microsoft ?
Comment by Jacek Komorowski on May 19, 19:06

Delphi Jumps Ship Welcome Embarcadero 

The adquisitions TCB is making are really good
investment. In a few years it bought NetIQ and WRQ
with Attachmate, now not only InstallShield, but
CodeGear with Embarcadero!!

TCB is doing great business here, CodeGear sounds like
the perfect bet in the current market, and i repeat,
just for 30 million dollars, that may help Borland to
survive some time more as you say Marco, but it stills
being really cheap. Just consider the revenues for
12.2 million dollars that CodeGear had in the 2008 Q1.
I think CodeGear should be sold for more money, but
well, Borland didnt know how to manage businesses in
the past years... specially in the current decade.
Comment by Javier Santo Domingo [] on May 19, 23:34

Delphi Jumps Ship Welcome Embarcadero 

 I just wanna say that Delphi is the best ever.
And happy for keeping it alive, it deserve that.

.NET something means nothing.
Comment by Abreik Zgugu on June 23, 17:25

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