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Borland Software Corporation is a software company that facilitates software deployment projects. Borland was first headquartered in Scotts Valley, California, then in Cupertino, California, and now in Austin, Texas.[3] It is now a Micro Focus International subsidiary. It was founded in 1983 by Niels Jensen, Ole Henriksen, Mogens Glad and Philippe Kahn.

Borland Software Corporation
Former type
IndustryComputer software
Fateacquired by Micro Focus
Founded1983 (1983)in California
FoundersNiels Jensen
Ole Henriksen
Mogens Glad
Philippe Kahn
HeadquartersAustin, Texas
Key people
Erik Prusch (acting CEO)
ProductsBorland SilkTest, Borland StarTeam, Borland Together, Others
RevenueDecreaseUS$172 million (2008)[1]
Number of employees
approximately 1,100[2]
ParentMicro Focus
Websiteborland.com [44]


The 1980s: Foundations

Three Danish citizens, Niels Jensen, Ole Henriksen, and Mogens Glad, founded Borland Ltd. in August 1981 to develop products like Word Index for the CP/M operating system using an off-the-shelf company. However, response to the company's products at the CP/M-82 show in San Francisco showed that a U.S. company would be needed to reach the American market. They met Philippe Kahn, who had just moved to Silicon Valley, and who had been a key developer of the Micral. The three Danes had embarked, at first successfully, on marketing software first from Denmark, and later from Ireland, before running into some challenges at the time when they met Philippe Kahn. Kahn was chairman, president, and CEO of Borland Inc. from its inception in 1983 until 1995. Main shareholders at the incorporation of Borland were Niels Jensen (250,000 shares), Ole Henriksen (160,000), Mogens Glad (100,000), and Kahn (80,000).

Borland developed a series of well-regarded software development tools. Its first product was Turbo Pascal in 1983, developed by Anders Hejlsberg (who later developed .NET and C# for Microsoft) and before Borland acquired the product sold in Scandinavia under the name of Compas Pascal. 1984 saw the launch of Borland Sidekick, a time organization, notebook, and calculator utility that was an early and popular terminate and stay resident program (TSR) for DOS operating systems.

By the mid-1980s the company had become so successful that it had the largest exhibit at the 1985 West Coast Computer Faire other than IBM or AT&T.[4] Bruce Webster reported that "the legend of Turbo Pascal has by now reached mythic proportions, as evidenced by the number of firms that, in marketing meetings, make plans to become 'the next Borland'".[5] After Turbo Pascal and Sidekick the company successfully launched other applications such as SuperKey and Lightning, all developed in Denmark. While the Danes remained majority shareholders, board members included Kahn, Tim Berry, John Nash, and David Heller. With the assistance of John Nash and David Heller, both British members of the Borland Board, the company was taken public on London's Unlisted Securities Market (USM) in 1986. Schroders was the lead investment banker. According to the London IPO filings, the management team was Philippe Kahn as President, Spencer Ozawa as VP of Operations, Marie Bourget as CFO, and Spencer Leyton as VP of sales and business development, while all software development was continuing to take place in Denmark and later London as the Danish co-founders moved there. A first US IPO followed in 1989 after Ben Rosen joined the Borland board with Goldman Sachs as the lead banker and a second offering in 1991 with Lazard as the lead banker. All offerings were very successful and over-subscribed.

In 1985 Borland acquired Analytica and its Reflex database product. The engineering team of Analytica, managed by Brad Silverberg and including Reflex co-founder Adam Bosworth, became the core of Borland's engineering team in the USA. Brad Silverberg was VP of engineering until he left in early 1990 to head up the Personal Systems division at Microsoft. Adam Bosworth initiated and headed up the Quattro project until moving to Microsoft later in 1990 to take over the project which eventually became Access.

In 1987 Borland purchased Wizard Systems and incorporated portions of the Wizard C technology into Turbo C. Bob Jervis, the author of Wizard C became a Borland employee. Turbo C was released on May 18, 1987, and an estimated 100,000 copies were shipped in the first month of its release. This apparently drove a wedge between Borland and Niels Jensen and the other members of his team who had been working on a brand new series of compilers at their London development centre. An agreement was reached and they spun off a company called Jensen & Partners International(JPI), later TopSpeed. JPI first launched a MS-DOS compiler named JPI Modula-2, that later became TopSpeed Modula-2, and followed up with TopSpeed C, TopSpeed C++ and TopSpeed Pascal compilers for both the MS-DOS and OS/2 operating systems. The TopSpeed compiler technology exists today as the underlying technology of the Clarion 4GL programming language, a Windows development tool.

In September 1987 Borland purchased Ansa-Software, including their Paradox (version 2.0) database management tool. Richard Schwartz, a cofounder of Ansa, became Borland's CTO and Ben Rosen joined the Borland board.

The Quattro Pro spreadsheet was launched in 1989 with, at the time, a notable improvement and charting capabilities. Lotus Development, under the leadership of Jim Manzi sued Borland for copyright infringement (see Look and feel). The litigation, Lotus Dev. Corp. v. Borland Int'l, Inc.,[6] brought forward Borland's open standards position as opposed to Lotus' closed approach. Borland, under Kahn's leadership took a position of principle and announced that they would defend against Lotus' legal position and "fight for programmer's rights". After a decision in favor of Borland by the First Circuit Court of Appeals, the case went to the United States Supreme Court. Because Justice John Paul Stevens had recused himself, only eight Justices heard the case, and it ended in a 4–4 tie.[6] As a result, the First Circuit decision remained standing, but the Supreme Court result, being a tie, did not bind any other court and set no national precedent.[7]

Additionally, Borland was known for its practical and creative approach towards software piracy and intellectual property (IP), introducing its "Borland no-nonsense license agreement". This allowed the developer/user to utilize its products "just like a book"; he or she was allowed to make multiple copies of a program, as long as only one copy was in use at any point in time.

The 1990s: Rise and change

In September 1991 Borland purchased Ashton-Tate, bringing the dBase and InterBase databases to the house, in an all-stock transaction. Competition with Microsoft was fierce. Microsoft launched the competing database Microsoft Access and bought the dBase clone FoxPro in 1992, undercutting Borland's prices. During the early 1990s Borland's implementation of C and C++ outsold Microsoft's. Borland survived as a company, but no longer had the dominance in software tools that it once had. It has gone through a radical transition in products, financing, and staff, now a very different company from the one which challenged Microsoft and Lotus in the early 1990s.

The internal problems that arose with the Ashton-Tate merger were a large part of the fall. Ashton-Tate's product portfolio proved to be weak, with no provision for evolution into the GUI environment of Windows. Almost all product lines were discontinued. The consolidation of duplicate support and development offices was costly and disruptive. Worst of all, the highest revenue earner of the combined company was dBASE with no Windows version ready.[8] Borland had an internal project to clone dBASE which was intended to run on Windows and was part of the strategy of the acquisition, but by late 1992 this was abandoned due to technical flaws and the company had to constitute a replacement team (the ObjectVision team, redeployed) headed by Bill Turpin to redo the job. Borland lacked the financial strength to project its marketing and move internal resources off other products to shore up the dBASE/W effort. Layoffs occurred in 1993 to keep the company afloat, the third instance of this in five years. By the time dBASE for Windows eventually shipped, the developer community had moved on to other products such as Clipper or FoxBase, and dBASE never regained significant share of Ashton-Tate's former market. This happened against the backdrop of the rise in Microsoft's combined Office product marketing.

A change in market conditions also contributed to Borland's fall from prominence. In the 1980s, companies had few people who understood the growing personal computer phenomenon, and so most technical people were given free rein to purchase whatever software they thought they needed. Borland had done an excellent job marketing to those with a highly technical bent. By the mid-1990s, however, companies were beginning to ask what the return was on the investment they had made in this loosely controlled PC software buying spree. Company executives were starting to ask questions that were hard for technically minded staff to answer, and so corporate standards began to be created. This required new kinds of marketing and support materials from software vendors, but Borland remained focused on the technical side of its products.

During 1993 Borland explored ties with WordPerfect as a possible way to form a suite of programs to rival Microsoft's nascent integration strategy. WordPerfect itself was struggling with a late and troubled transition to Windows. The eventual joint company effort, named Borland Office for Windows (a combination of the WordPerfect word processor, Quattro Pro spreadsheet and Paradox database) was introduced at the 1993 Comdex computer show. Borland Office never made significant in-roads against Microsoft Office. WordPerfect was then bought by Novell. In October 1994, Borland sold Quattro Pro and rights to sell up to million copies of Paradox to Novell for $140 million in cash, repositioning the company on its core software development tools and the Interbase database engine and shifting toward client-server scenarios in corporate applications. This later proved a good foundation for the shift to web development tools.

Philippe Kahn and the Borland board disagreed on how to focus the company, and Kahn resigned as chairman, CEO and president, after 12 years, in January 1995.[9] Kahn remained on the board until November 7, 1996.[10] Borland named Gary Wetsel as CEO, but he resigned in July 1996. William F. Miller was interim CEO until September of that year, when Whitney G. Lynn became interim president and CEO (along with other executive changes),[11] followed by a succession of CEOs including Dale Fuller and Tod Nielsen.

The Delphi 1 rapid application development (RAD) environment was launched in 1995, under the leadership of Anders Hejlsberg.

In 1996 Borland acquired Open Environment Corporation,[12] a Cambridge-based company founded by John J. Donovan.[13]

On November 25, 1996, Del Yocam was hired as Borland CEO and chairman.

In 1997, Borland sold Paradox to Corel, but retained all development rights for the core BDE. In November 1997, Borland acquired Visigenic, a middleware company that was focused on implementations of CORBA.

Inprise Corporation era

On April 29, 1998, Borland refocused its efforts on targeting enterprise applications development. Borland hired marketing firm Lexicon Branding to come up with a new name for the company. Yocam explained that the new name, Inprise, was meant to evoke "integrating the enterprise".[14] The idea was to integrate Borland's tools, Delphi, C++ Builder, and JBuilder with enterprise environment software, including Visigenic's implementations of CORBA, Visibroker for C++ and Java, and the new product, Application Server.

For a number of years (both before and during the Inprise name) Borland suffered from serious financial losses and poor public image. When the name was changed to Inprise, many thought Borland had gone out of business. In March 1999, dBase was sold to KSoft, Inc. which was soon renamed to dBASE Inc. (In 2004 dBASE Inc. was renamed to DataBased Intelligence, Inc.).

In 1999, Dale L. Fuller replaced Yocam. At this time Fuller's title was "interim president and CEO." The "interim" was dropped in December 2000. Keith Gottfried served in senior executive positions with the company from 2000 to 2004.

A proposed merger between Inprise and Corel was announced in February 2000, aimed at producing Linux-based products. The scheme was abandoned when Corel's shares fell and it became clear that there was really no strategic fit.

InterBase 6.0 was made available as open-source software in July 2000.

Borland Software Corporation era

In January 2001, the Inprise name was abandoned and the company became "Borland" once more.

Under the Borland name and a new management team headed by president and CEO Dale L. Fuller, a now-smaller and profitable Borland refocused on Delphi, and created a version of Delphi and C++ Builder for Linux, both under the name Kylix. This brought Borland's expertise in integrated development environments to the Linux platform for the first time. Kylix was launched in 2001.

Plans to spin off the InterBase division as a separate company were abandoned after Borland and the people who were to run the new company could not agree on terms for the separation. Borland stopped open-source releases of InterBase and has developed and sold new versions at a fast pace.

In 2001 Delphi 6 became the first integrated development environment to support web services.[15] All of the company's development platforms now support web services.

C#Builder was released in 2003 as a native C# development tool, competing with Visual Studio .NET. As of the 2005 release, C#Builder, Delphi for Win32, and Delphi for .NET have been combined into a single IDE called "Borland Developer Studio" (though the combined IDE is still popularly known as "Delphi"). In late 2002 Borland purchased design tool vendor TogetherSoft and tool publisher Starbase, makers of the StarTeam configuration management tool and the CaliberRM requirements management tool (eventually, CaliberRM was renamed as "Caliber"[16]). The latest releases of JBuilder and Delphi integrate these tools to give developers a broader set of tools for development.

Former CEO Dale Fuller quit in July 2005, but remained on the board of directors.[17] Former COO Scott Arnold took the title of interim president and chief executive officer until November 8, 2005, when it was announced that Tod Nielsen would take over as CEO effective November 9, 2005. Nielsen remained with the company until January 2009, when he accepted the position of chief operating officer at VMware;[18] CFO Erik Prusch then took over as acting president and CEO.[18]

In early 2007 Borland announced new branding for its focus around open application life-cycle management. In April 2007 Borland announced that it would relocate its headquarters and development facilities to Austin, Texas.[3] It also has development centers at Singapore, Santa Ana, California, and Linz, Austria.

On May 6, 2009, the company announced it was to be acquired by Micro Focus for $75 million.[19][20] The transaction was approved by Borland shareholders on July 22, 2009, with Micro Focus acquiring the company for $1.50/share.[21] Following Micro Focus shareholder approval and the required corporate filings, the transaction was completed in late July 2009.[22][23] It was estimated to have 750 employees at the time.[24]


  • Legadero: In October 2005, Borland acquired Legadero, in order to add its IT management and governance suite, called Tempo, to the Borland product line.

  • Codegear: On February 8, 2006, Borland announced the divestiture of their IDE division, including Delphi, JBuilder, and InterBase. At the same time they announced the planned acquisition of Segue Software, a maker of software test and quality tools, in order to concentrate on application life-cycle management (ALM). On March 20, 2006, Borland announced its acquisition of Gauntlet Systems, a provider of technology that screens software under development for quality and security. On November 14, 2006, Borland announced its decision to separate the developer tools group into a wholly owned subsidiary. The newly formed operation, CodeGear, was responsible for four IDE product lines. On May 7, 2008, Borland announced the sale of CodeGear division to Embarcadero Technologies for an expected $23 million price and $7 million in CodeGear accounts receivables retained by Borland.



The products acquired from Segue Software include Silk Central, Silk Performer, and Silk Test. The Silk line was first announced in 1997.[25] Other programs are:

  • Borland AppServer

  • Borland Caliber DefineIT

  • Borland CaliberRM

  • Borland Enterprise Server

  • Borland Enterprise Studio, for C++, Mobile and Java

  • Borland Gauntlet

  • StarTeam

  • Borland Tempo

  • Borland Together for Eclipse

  • Visibroker

Historical products

  • Borland C++

  • Borland Delphi

  • Brief (text editor)

  • C++Builder

  • C++BuilderX

  • C#Builder

  • CodeWright

  • Entera (Acquired from OEC)

  • Eureka: The Solver (numerical solver for mathematical systems of equations)[26]

  • IntraBuilder

  • JBuilder

  • Kylix

  • ObjectVision

  • Turbo Assembler

  • Turbo BASIC (now PowerBASIC)

  • Turbo C

  • Turbo C++

  • Turbo Debugger

  • Turbo Delphi

  • Turbo Pascal

  • Turbo Pascal Database Toolbox

  • Turbo Pascal Editor Toolbox

  • Turbo Pascal Graphix Toolbox

  • Turbo Pascal Numerical Methods Toolbox

  • Turbo Pascal Tutor

  • Turbo Profiler

  • Turbo Prolog (now Visual Prolog)

  • dBase

  • InterBase

  • Borland Paradox

  • Sidekick

  • Sidekick Plus

  • SuperKey

  • Turbo Lightning (TSR spell checker)

  • Borland Eureka the Solver

  • Borland Reflex

  • Quattro

  • Quattro Pro

  • Sprint

  • Turbo GameWorks (Turbo Pascal source and executables for bridge, gomoku, and chess)

  • Word Wizard (Requires Turbo Lightning)

Unreleased software

  • Turbo Modula-2 - Later sold by TopSpeed as TopSpeed Modula-2.


  • CB Magazine: It is an official magazine by Borland Japan.[27] The magazine was republished in 1997-04-03.[28]

Frank Borland

Frank Borland is a mascot character for Borland products. According to Philippe Kahn, the mascot first appeared in advertisements and cover of Borland Sidekick 1.0 manual[29], which was in 1984 during Borland International, Inc. era. Frank Borland also appeared in Turbo Tutor - A Turbo Pascal Tutorial, Borland JBuilder 2.

A live action version of Frank Borland was made after Micro Focus plc had acquired Borland Software Corporation.[30][31] This version was created by True Agency Limited.[32] An introductory film was also made about the mascot.[33]

See also

  • List of file formats (alphabetical)

  • Lotus Development Corp. v. Borland International, Inc.


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