Borland Software Corp.'s deal to license Microsoft Corp.'s .NET Framework
Software Development Kit, announced last week, underscores Microsoft's efforts
to further distribute its development technology in its battle with Java.

In fact, getting third parties to distribute .NET technology in their products
parallels what the courts have done for Java in ordering Microsoft to carry
the Sun Microsystems Inc. technology in its operating system.
"It certainly is a new turn on the [Java 2 Enterprise Edition] versus .NET
competition," said Aidan O'Brien, principal consultant with AA Computing
Ltd., of Mississauga, Ontario. O'Brien called Borland's move "a bit of a
contrast to the court-ordered inclusion of Sun's Java in Windows XP."

Drew Engstrom, senior Web services strategist for Sun, in Santa Clara, Calif.,
said: "No surprises here. Borland has always positioned itself as the Switzerland
of software development, and they already offer some .NET migration technology.
Borland gets the majority of its revenue from JBuilder, which is built for
enterprise Java development."

By taking the lead in redistributing a key part of Microsoft's .NET platform
to developers through its tools, Borland, of Scotts Valley, Calif., ensures
its customers that their applications will be compatible with current generations
of Microsoft's platform.
In addition, by presenting an independent alternative for enterprise developers,
Borland can prevent the so-called Microsoft lock-in. Many developers try
to avoid being locked in to using Microsoft applications and software components,
for which the company's tools have been optimized.

Microsoft, for its part, said it would like to see more companies license
the .NET Framework SDK.

"Microsoft is pleased that Borland has agreed to license this technology,"
said John Montgomery, group product manager with Microsoft's platforms division,
in Redmond, Wash. "Microsoft is open to licensing it to other ISVs. To date,
Microsoft has already had more than 14 million downloads of the .NET Framework
through Windows Update, and it's great to see Borland helping to get this
technology onto users' systems."

Borland CEO Dale Fuller said Borland's deal with Microsoft will strengthen
his company's position as the last major independent development tools company.
"Borland is first to secure distribution rights to the .NET Framework. We
represent the only independent path to .NET," Fuller said.

Officials said Borland will deliver a suite of tools in increments throughout
this year to support the entire .NET application development life cycle.
Borland will also deliver a similar suite for Java developers.

"The deal is great for the Borland developer community, [which] now can reduce
their learning curve and costs for adopting .NET by sticking to the tool
set that they are used to," said Sam Patterson, CEO of ComponentSource Inc.,
in Atlanta.

"Moreover, it continues Borland's strong enterprise play so that they are
able to handle any type of enterprise with their tool set instead of possibly
losing developers to Visual Studio .NET," Patterson said.

Mike Gilpin, an analyst with Giga Information Group Inc., a Cambridge, Mass.,
market research company, said, given Borland's strategy to keep its feet
in both the Java and .NET camps, "this is a logical decision that supports
that strategy. Historically, Borland has been the only company other than
Microsoft that has made consistently great tools for building Windows applications.
This will enable them to keep doing that for the most current generation
of Windows technology."

"I think it is all good," said Stephen Forte, chief technology officer at
Corzen Inc., a New York-based online information delivery service.

"Vendors support Java. If they want to make money, they should also support
the other big development platform, .NET," Forte said. "So it will be great
for everyone around. Specifically, this means that tools like Delphi will
get '.NET-ified,' and there may even be some non-Microsoft competition to
Visual Studio."


It's the platform, stupid.