The recently sign-posted potential acquisition of Embarcadero by Idera has now been officially confirmed by a press release from Idera, as reported by The Register.

What is starkly apparent in the press release is the extent to which neither the Idera nor the Embarcadero commentary make any reference to development tools. In fact, in the press release as a whole the fact that development tools were involved receives only a brief mention by way of introducing Embarcadero.

Otherwise, the focus is very much on the database tools; Even to the extent of what appears to be an attempt at some pseudo-SQL in the title of the press release itself!

The Idera quotes do make reference to an expansion into “application performance“, rather than “application development” which may be a reference to the AppAnalytics technology, which would be a good fit alongside their database performance monitoring tools. The portfolio of Embarcadero’s database products are also more tilted toward heterogenous database change and development versus Idera’s existing range of SQL Server centric performance monitoring and management. So again, what may be considered a natural and complimentary fit.

Whither the Development Tools

Some have expressed a view that the fact that Embarcadero were considered a target for acquisition is in some way a positive indication of the value of Delphi. Unfortunately I don’t see that this necessarily follows at all.

A purchaser with a strong interest in the much larger and more valuable database tools business may very well simply have been obliged to take the development tools as part of the “job lot” since if that development tools business is not viable on its own then the vendor would be unlikely to agree to retaining it or attempting to trying to find another purchaser to take it off their hands.

We simply don’t know the terms of the transaction or how the development tools were valued and based on the press release (which so far is all we have to go on) it has to be said that where they lie in the landscape and what the future holds for them remains, at best, somewhat unclear at this stage. imho.

Interesting times.

33 thoughts on “Official: Idera to Acquire Embarcadero

  1. One would think if it was worthless in its own right, it would never have build Borland up in the first place, and certainly would not have been worth Embarcadero’s efforts to purchase it.

    1. C. Johnson – Delphi dates back to 1995, twenty years ago. That’s an eternity in the tech field. Borland itself did decide that IDEs had become a commodity product; that’s why they sold it in the first place! EMBT wrung money out of Delphi by consolidation (removing duplicate marketing, accounting, HR, etc.), laying off the experienced American developers and offshoring to Romania, offshoring other jobs to Spain, raising prices, going to a six-month release cycle, and making subscriptions mandatory. There’s no reason to believe they actually increased sales of Delphi at all, and a new Delphi developer remains as rare as an ivory-billed woodpecker.

      Look around today – can you even name a proprietary language? Microsoft has mostly open-sourced C#, and Apple plans on open-sourcing Swift by the end of the year. Essentially every proprietary language has died off, from Visual Basic to Eiffel to Powerbuilder. The industry doesn’t want or need proprietary languages any more (too much risk if the owning company fails or gets purchased or fails to make money). Java, C#, C++, C, Python, Ruby, Scala, PHP, Javascript, Perl, R, D, Go, Rust… all free and cross-platform. A $1000+ poorly optimized compiler that only runs on Windows and gets sold or spun off every few years? What company is going to take a risk running that?

      1. I have been using RAD Studio only since a few months. I don’t necessarily need to use Pascal I can use C++ but I like the way the RAD rapid development works. No one seems to have a similar RAD IDE system right now, where I can generate windows, android and ios executables easily

        1. C# and Xamarin, and Qt with C++ would be two similar options. There are quite a few others – I know one company makes a Java for iOS, there’s also a product called LiveCode.

          Come to think of it there’s also…

          Haxe (http://haxe.org) and the framework OpenFL (http://www.openfl.org/)

          Xojo (http://www.xojo.com/)….

          Java-based WaveMaker (http://www.wavemaker.com/)….

          CodeNameOne (https://www.codenameone.com/)….

          web-oriented Bootstrap (http://getbootstrap.com/)….

          mobile-oriented AppBuilder (http://www.telerik.com/appbuilder)

          Appcelerator (http://www.appcelerator.com/)….

          …and probably a lot more I haven’t heard of.

          Oh, Oxygene of course! πŸ™‚

          1. None of those options mentioned is as straightforward as the RAD Studio interface

            1. I can only think that by “RAD Studio interface” you actually mean the VCL or FireMonkey frameworks rather than RAD Studio itself. And in terms of knocking out UI’s rapidly I would have to agree. Up to a point.

              The problem is that the world has moved on since the VCL brought its many benefits to Windows desktop development, providing the OO framework that the API itself lacked. But modern platforms have OO frameworks very much “baked in” – the VCL lives on really only on the long tail of Win32. FireMonkey makes far less sense given the OO frameworks in the platforms it supports and really only works as well as long as you don’t extend your reach beyond the encapsulation it provides. Once you do, the initial apparent elegance and productivity vanishes and, due to the mechanisms required to make FMX even work in the first place, you are almost utterly reliant on the framework vendor to maintain lock-step with the platforms as they evolve, in a way that really wasn’t necessary (certainly not to the same extent) with the VCL and Win32.

              Even – and this is the truly bonkers part – to keep up with platform changes in look-and-feel (UI styling).

              1. What I mean by RAD Studio Interface is the IDE that has a screen designer that works for all platforms (you don’t have to redo screens in Xcode for ios), and the functionality to generate Windows, Android and ios executables with the same source.

            2. Qt Creator is a tool for visually designing GUIs, if that’s what you mean.

  2. Is it time Delphi developers start seriously look at alternatives? Lazarus is sn excellent place to start. One of the bonuses will be the capability in generating native code across multiple OS.

    1. Chor, it’s many years past the time people should have been looking at alternatives. πŸ™‚ Free Pascal is fine, but one point I’d raise is that running code across multiple OSes is a feature of every language I can think of today; it was Delphi that was unusual for most of its life for only running on/targeting Windows.

      1. Lazarus has one outstanding feature, it generates native code and use native visual components. As a result, binaries generated are fast, and look and feel native, in great contrast to many, slow and visually questionable, for example Java.

        1. Except that with Android 5.0 and ART, even Java sources end up executing as native code (they always did, technically, but now they are pre-compiled for the specific hardware of your device at time of install. Or at least can be).

          Microsoft have also jumped on this with a similar mechanism in .NET Native.

          The tools that eschewed the native frameworks in favour of native code – such as FireMonkey – no longer have quite as clear a differentiator, not to mention the reduction in potential performance advantage (some of which was always already lost in the additional layer(s) of abstraction that the alternative, proprietary frameworks necessitated).

        2. “Native” code really isn’t considered an advantage for general-purpose applications anymore. In today’s world, developer time is more expensive than computer time/hardware. As such, development speed/productivity is often a higher priority. Modern enterprise software tends to use managed languages wherever possible, only “stepping down” to something like C++ for small sections of code if performance in unacceptable and profiling shows a bottleneck. Writing a full application in a low-level language is becoming a lot rarer.

          Java is not slow at all; this is a myth that has circulated in the Delphi community for quite some time. The truth is that modern Java’s just-in-time compilation is extremely optimized. In fact, when a comparison of languages and the SciMark benchmark was made, Java (and C#) easily beat Delphi! Delphi developers managed to ring some extra performance out of the benchmark code, but it wasn’t enough to beat Java and it also made the Pascal code look more like C and wasn’t reflective of real-world Delphi applications anymore.

          I’ve written two (admittedly small) applications in FreePascal and read a blog post of someone else who wrote one and then compared the speed to PyPy (a just-in-time compiler for Python). In all three cases, the JIT-ted Python code performed almost exactly the same as Free Pascal. In fact, in a Pascal brute force prime number benchmark that I rewrote in Python, the accelerated Python code consistently finished 1/10 of a second faster than FPC, at least on 64-bit Linux. This isn’t trying to say FPC is slow so much as modern JIT-ted code is quite fast. Delphi’s single-pass compiler design makes it fast to compile but prevents several types of optimizations, and this is why Java can be faster than Delphi, at least for single-threaded applications.

          Free Pascal is a fine product. I think its biggest challenge today is deciding what it wants to be. At one time it made waves by beating Delphi to generics, cross-platform and 64-bit. Now it seems to want to run on more and more obscure platforms and seems to reject new feature ideas. Does it want to be a Delphi 7 clone? A Delphi 10 clone? Or does it want to go the Oxygene route, break compatibility, and give the world a Pascal++? I don’t think it has the resources to do all of those and those who contribute to it are probably going to have to decide soon which of those paths to take.

      2. Not one IDE does it well. Even more importantly, not one ide is itself cross-platform which pretty much tells you what exists as state-of-the-art.

        1. Um, some cross-platform IDE’s that immediately spring to mind: Netbeans, Eclipse, IntelliJ, Android Studio (IntelliJ based), Lazarus

          Looking at that list, if this is supposed to be an indication of state of the art then Java would seem to be where the party is at.

  3. Indeed: we could just guess… I suspect even the Idera managers did not make their own idea yet. πŸ™‚
    From my experiment, when companies are acquired, what can be merged is merged, to cut off costs. For instance, Embarcadero HR, IT, accounting, or even marketing may disappear in the new structure.
    The same about similar technologies: some close products may be merged or the less powerful may be abandoned in profit to an existing better solution.
    But since Idera has no development tool like Delphi, I see three possibilities:
    – They identify the power and potential of Delphi, and invest in it, as a new axis of profit for the company;
    – They identify that dev tools is not their business, so they sold it to another company (I do not see why they would not make any profit by selling it, and I’m quite sure they would never Open Source Delphi, due to third-party licensing reasons);
    – Anything else – we need a crystal ball here.

    1. I think it’s reasonable to say that if there was any excitement or perceived value in the dev tools business then this would have already figured in their plans and some reference made to it in the acquisition announcement.

      I’m not sure that there are many people who would set up a line of credit for $425 million in order to make a purchase of something that they haven’t yet figured out what to do with. As such, the silence on this aspect of things is to me the most worrying aspect of the whole affair.

      Time will have to tell.

  4. What surprises me is the silence from Embarcadero. When will they star to tell something about the deal to customers? Or they are just waiting to run away with the money?

    1. As I’ve said elsewhere, even “We can’t comment right now” or “Idera has asked us not to comment” would be better than silence. It’s just the latest example that the Delphi team/EMBT know nothing about how to build a community or communicate with one. It’s hilarious to watch Marco and David I. continue to post as if nothing has happened. Meanwhile, I’m wondering if CodeRage X will be a farewell tour. πŸ™ If they don’t even say a word during CodeRage and refuse to answer questions about it it will be mind-boggling.

      Meanwhile, who’s going to buy *any* EMBT product during this uncertain time? You would think there would have been a plan in place to reassure existing customers and not dissuade new sales. The longer they leave everyone in limbo the more their sales are going to drop while potential customers wait to see if prices will go up or down, if products will be canceled, licensing terms changed, etc.

      As for what they are doing, I suppose they’re all editing their resumes right now. πŸ™‚ Can you imagine what will happen if a fresh set of eyes walks into EMBT and sees how poorly they’ve managed the product, the offshoring of product development, the HQ in USA, the developers in Romania, the unqualified product manager in Italy, the “chief scientist” without a computer science degree, etc?

      Oh, and if you think I’m kidding – ALLEN BAUER HAS ALREADY CHANGED HIS LINKEDIN PROFILE TO IDERA!

      And from Marco’s Twitter: “In Paris CDG, traveling to San Francisco. Going to spend the week in Scotts Valley for meetings and CodeRage. A very interesting week ;-)”

      I bet it will be!

      “Dr.” Bob must be curled up in the fetal position, rocking slowly in a corner right now.

    1. @Chor: Not to worry. Joseph will be predicting the death of Delphi for years to come.

      David I talked about the acquisition this morning at CodeRage and gave the impression that developer tools will continue to be a primary focus.

      I understand that they are working on a FAQ.

      1. Bruce, I analyzed the Stack Overflow 2015 survey results because I don’t believe in faith-based computing. Out of 26,087 respondents a total of 121 listed Delphi or Pascal as their primary development language, or less than 1/2 of 1 percent. Out of those 121, only 47 listed it as what they’d like to be using in the future. Most tellingly, out of those who didn’t list Delphi as their primary language, only 8, or 3/100 of 1 percent, wanted to be using it in the future.

        It’s already dead. Go to any general-purpose programming forum and tell them Pascal is alive and well and they’ll bust out laughing. The entire idea of paying thousands of dollars for proprietary programming languages and vendor lock-in is an anachronism today. On Y-Combinator’s survey of start-ups for 2013, there wasn’t a single start-up that reported they’d chosen Delphi for their software stack. Zero.

        OS/2 still exists too (as “e/Com Station”) but no one except those nursing legacy software adopts it. Same with dBase. In a world of free C#, Java, C++, D, Scala, Haskell, R, Ruby, Groovy, Python, F#, OCaml, Go, Rust, Swift, Nim, etc. there just isn’t a reason to choose a language with a single-pass compiler, no type inference, manual memory management and a minimum $1440 entry fee and mandatory subscription fee. And for those in North America or Western Europe, it’s career suicide for a developer to specialize in it.

        One free download and a $99 JetBrains IDE and you’re good to go as a professional developer with anything else. And if you don’t even have the $99, there are plenty of free IDEs and editors and Visual Studio Community Edition.

        David I and Wayne Williams also said at the first CodeRage after EMBT’s acquisition that Delphi was going to be getting parallel programming improvements at the language-level but that never happened and Williams never appeared at another CodeRage (or any other Delphi event) again. David was also floating the idea of getting back into schools this week, which shows he has no understanding of the education market today. This is just fluff to make the True Believers feel better, the same way they trotted out parallel programming every year until some of us began openly laughing about it (Allen Bauer even touted LINQ-like functionality on Reddit more than 6 years ago).

        A competent VP of Developer Relations would have had the FAQ prepared weeks in advance so that customers and potential customers could be reassured from day 1. Who would be buying any product from EMBT right now when they don’t know what products will stay, what will be canceled, will prices go up or down, will support stay the same, etc.? New owners, business as usual.

        1. David I. has been virtually retired since the name changed to Inprise. Indeed, he/they have never had any *vision* and are always too late to the party.

      1. I see you’ve mustered all the facts at your disposal to compose your rebuttal.

        1. One thing that Bruce can never be accused of is letting facts get in the way of making excuses for Embarcadero. πŸ˜‰

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