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By: Tom Nadeau firstname.lastname@example.org
Thirty years ago that kind of bias was commonly expressed in such narrow-minded
practices as racism, sexism, or even nationalism. In some places vestiges of these
practices still exist, but the "smart money" is on businesses which do
not allow narrow-minded biases to dominate their thinking. Especially in the Web
Age, business is supposed to be open to any and all who want to buy their products.
Business is supposed to be "transparent."
Which explains why the smart money is not on Borland/Inprise.
In mid-1998, a survey of software developers was published in the magazine *Developer
Journal*. When asked which ONE software development environment they preferred,
a plurality chose OS/2 Warp as their one favorite environment. With 16% of the market,
OS/2 was not a landslide winner, but it was the leader over Windows at 15% and other
environments (such as Linux) following close behind. Being in tune with an untapped
demand for native OS/2 development tools would therefore seem to be the smart thing
to do, but Borland has proven over the last ten years that smart business practices
are not their strong suit.
Borland currently does not market or develop its popular tools for the OS/2 platform,
neither as a development environment nor as a target platform. This is especially
ridiculous when we consider that they would have an open field with few competitors....
What, do you think Microsoft would follow Borland's lead and begin writing development
tools for OS/2? Of course not. Microsoft cannot afford to do anything that might
legitimize the OS/2 platform, particularly under the current investigative mindset
that is beginning to take hold due to the Antitrust case publicity. Since Borland
can be quite sure that its main competitor (who has been eating its lunch as well
as absorbing its development staff) will be no threat, a survival move on Borland's
part would be to listen to what the market wants and provide native OS/2 development
However, the term "OS/2" is never heard from Borland. Borland continues
to beat its head on the wall, attempting to fight Microsoft in a battle that it
cannot win through direct confrontation. Outflanking Microsoft by encouraging their
customer base to flourish on the OS/2 platform might work, but Borland has not even
considered it. Meanwhile, IBM has failed to provide the kind of stable, world-class
development environments on OS/2 that thousands of ISVs crave. For example, Smack
version 2.0 is on hold, awaiting IBM's hoped-for patches and fixes to IBM Visual
C++ 4.0 for OS/2.
I would stand in line at midnight and pay good money for a copy of Delphi for
OS/2 -- in Java, or C++, or REXX flavors -- if only Borland would ship a full-featured,
up-to-date version for OS/2. But Borland/Inprise continues to drown in red ink and
waste away, instead of attacking the "safe" platform where Microsoft won't
and IBM can't. If Borland won't wise up, the least they could do with their dying
breath is open-source the Delphi family and make it available to people who are
more in-touch with what the marketplace demands. --