Microsoft, Borland: We're friends

SAN JOSE -- Microsoft Corp. and Borland Software Corp. may have competing development tools for building Windows applications, but this doesn't mean the companies aren't partners.

Microsoft's David Treadwell, general manager of the Microsoft .Net Developer Platform team, and David Intersimone, vice president of developer relations at Borland, took turns hailing cooperation between the two companies during the BorCon show here on Monday.

"Never [before] have I seen, in the last year or so, the amount of cooperation between Microsoft and Borland," Intersimone said. Treadwell then took the stage to conduct what he called the first public demonstration of Microsoft's Longhorn Windows technology before a non-Microsoft audience. The technology was shown at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference 2003 event in Los Angeles last week.

Treadwell touted features such as "managed code," in which a managed execution environment reduces complexity, and Microsoft's "smart client" initiative. Smart client is an attempt to produce clients that combine the rich user experience of fat desktop clients with the small footprint of Web-based thin clients.

"Without question, [Longhorn is] going to be the biggest release of Windows since Windows 95, perhaps the biggest release ever," said Treadwell.

Borland's Delphi 8 programming language is being supported in Microsoft's .Net Framework, said Treadwell. Borland was the first licensee of the framework, he said.

He also touted the planned Whidbey version of Microsoft's Active Server Pages .Net Web development platform. Microsoft also has a Whidbey version planned for its Visual Studio development tool, which would compete with Borland's .Net tools. But Treadwell focused on the ASP .Net variant. One goal of Whidbey is to reduce by 50% the volume of code that has to be written for ASP .Net applications, said Treadwell.

An audience member said he believed Microsoft and Scotts Valley, Calif-based Borland could coexist despite competing interests. "Borland is the best developer of tools for the [Microsoft] platform," said Matej Jaksa, a Delphi trainer and consultant at Marand in Slovenia.

BorCon on Tuesday will feature word from the Java side of the equation, with Jonathan Schwartz, executive vice president of Sun Microsystems Inc.'s software group, scheduled to speak.

Also at BorCon on Monday:

  • Blake Stone, Borland's chief technology officer, said the company on Tuesday may make an announcement related to software modeling. "You might see an interesting press release coming from us tomorrow," Stone said.
  • Borland plans to support development for the .Net Compact Framework, which is for building .Net-based applications for handheld devices, in tools such as the C#Builder and Delphi 8 tools. "We are working very closely with Microsoft on having that put into future releases," said Simon Thornhill, general manager of Borland's .Net Solutions Group.
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