Subject RE: [Firebird-general] "DevCo" & Firebird
Author Steve Summers
I suspect by "Delphi", they mean the whole "Borland Developer Studio" product- which merges Delphi for Win32, Delphi for DotNet,
C++ Builder for Win32, and C# for DotNet. The same product is sold as Delphi and as C++ Builder (highlighting much of what's
wrong with Borland- idiots running its marketing and non-technical management).

As far as cooperating with DevCo once it's spun off, that sounds great to me. I'm a big Firebird fan, but also have been using
Borland products since Turbo Pascal 1.0 for CP/M, and remain a big fan of Delphi. It pains me that Borland screwed over so many
people in the FB community that I respect, and created such animosity. I suspect that the people involved on Borland's side
were not the technical people, but the idiots I referred to above, who ruined what was once a great company- but I don't know

However, I'm not one of the people who would have to "forget all the bad blood of the past", so I can only hope that happens,
not help make it happen.

Personally, I think there is potential for better times ahead for both groups. I can't see how DevCo could consider Interbase,
which is now "almost as good as Firebird other than the price", as a viable part of their product line. They'll be selling
primarily IDE/Compilers, which historically have been database agnostic- and need to be, since focusing on their OWN database
would make the products viable for maybe 1% of their potential market.

So why waste programmers on advancing a product whose market share will continue to decline, which is competing with Free (and
not keeping up in performance or quality)?

If I were running it, I'd do what IBPhoenix does. I'd have DevCo sell support contracts to existing Interbase accounts, retain
at least a few of the IB programmers to help their support efforts, and have them spend their spare time working on Firebird-
and of course, re-open-source IB.

That would give DevCo a better DBMS product to bundle with BDS (along with the IBExpress component set, renamed FBExpress), at
reduced development costs, while retaining their ability to make money from the existing large accounts who need "corporate"
support. That would give the Firebird project some additional developers and maybe additional funding, as well as returning the
(apparently stolen?) copyrights to the documentation to Helen, Ann, etc, so the FB documentation can be completed faster.

All good stuff, if it happens. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of paulruizendaal
Sent: Friday, April 28, 2006 10:25 AM
Subject: [Firebird-general] "DevCo" & Firebird

As we all know, Borland is spinning out the Delphi/Builder/Interbase
division, the "Develop" group in their annual report. Over the last
days some info has come out.

The new company, temporary name "DevCo", will have three product
lines, Delphi, JBuilder and Interbase. I guess C++Builder is out the
door and apparently Interbase includes tutti-frutti like JDataSTore
and NDataStore. Assuming that the entire "Develop" group is divested,
the new group will start with about $100 mln in revenues.

The new group will have 250..300 employees. The full cost per head in
Borland is currently $215K, so assuming that this figure is valid for
DevCo, the cost base will be about $65 mln. Taking 90% gross margin,
the operational profit will be (100 x 90%) - 65 = 15 mln.

Now, $215K in full cost is much too high. Red Hat, Sybase, MySQL,
etc. are all at around 160K - 180K per head. So, if DevCo learns to
be frugal, operational profit could get as high as $40 mln.

Conclusion, if DevCo can regenerate its product roadmap and come up
with exciting innovations, the investors could make good returns on
their money, even if they have to pay a $100 mln for it.

The biggest change that DevCo would need to make is that they are
currently making nearly all of their money from licenses, not from
services, add-ons and subscriptions. Making such a change is not
impossible, even for a closed source business: for example, Sybase
makes 35% of its money from licenses and 65% from related services --
they are more like Red Hat than you would think at first. Probably
DevCo are thinking along those lines, considering their comments that
they want to be like RH.

So, serious money is riding on the ability of DevCo to deliver
exciting innovations, and to evolve its business model. For the
Interbase side of the business, all the creativity and all the
engineering prowess would seem to be in the Firebird trunk, not in
the Interbase branch. We, as a community, have all the experience in
operating at low cost levels and with doing add-on + service stuff.

So, what should we, the community, do once DevCo is a fact? Wouldn't
it make sense to forget all the bad blood of the past and see if we
can hammer out a good way to help each other? "Cohabitation" as the
French would say.

Opinions, please.


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