Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Embarcadero's Compiler Business for Sale

Correspondent from New York

Delphi is on its last legs again. The problem is same as at Borland and CodeGear subsidiary. The problem is the way how the ex-Borlanders manage the company and doing it again.

ThomaBravo is quietly looking for new potential joint-investors or possible sale of Embarcadero.

Investors are told about Wayne William, the CEO at Embarcadero. You might meet his wife, his former secretary years ago at Embarcadero. So you can imagine the steamy trysts at Embarcadero. The CEO who brings his secretary out dinner, then later his house and later married her, so you can imagine the rest...

How to lose 45 million dollars and bring a subsidiary company to the ground - Bravo!
A ThomaBravo company - Flexera - InstallShield idea is to make InstallShield an AppStore. This would make InstallShield required everywhere. But Apple, Google and Microsoft does not share the same future idea of bloated, unnecessarily complex install procedures.

To compete against Apple's AppStore idea, (they) got their InstallShield ideas into AppWave, but it was a bottomless pit. More than 45 million dollars (and six internal versions of AppWave) but meagre profits to show.

To do their scripting, they wanted InstallAware on the cheap. But the InstallAware vendor would have none of it. InstallShield is a coffin-company wanting more money for updates and upgrades to a dead-technology which is being phrased out by Google AppStore, Apple AppStore, Amazon AppStore and Windows Marketplace, Office Marketplace AppStore method of deployment.

A day at Embarcadero starts at serviced offices in Asia Pacific - serviced offices because they are too small, sharing same office address with several companies in Australia, Singapore, Japan and China.

Personally, your correspondent don't know how they manage to put up with a Savings and Loan company, Click SEO company, Diaper and Baby toys company in the same serviced-office suite in Australia.

In Europe, the people actually go to work in Russia, Spain and Romania. In Americas, you need to dial overseas to USA to contact them from Brazil. Giving a call to Jackson Gnomes' house won't get you any support in Brazil (AToZed). Call to Embarcadero Brazil only gets you their sales office run by ex-Borlanders.

In sleepy Scotts Valley, the people there just too lazy to go to work. They telecommute instead. The problem is that if they need to review source codes, they have to go to work, which they are unwilling to do so.

Heads Rolling and Immunity
The problem with Delphi, DBArtisan, C++ Builder (and other Emb. products) is about managing the products and staff expectations and where the company is heading.

So much of Embarcadero's Delphi profits was put into AppWave but it fizzled out. The new ideas of FireMonkey fizzle out and jeopardize Delphi. Now Embarcadero is making annoying changes to Delphi to force developers to upgrade.

The Embarcadero ex-Borlanders management makes excuses and protect themselves while bleeding the company dry. When the Delphi management tried to show the ex-Borlanders Management their errors, they were fired instead. Now anyone who tries to discuss about this mismanagement is let go, fired or swept under the carpet. So you have an circle of people immune to any criticism or comments about their mistakes.

(Think of this as Amy's Baking Company -- search for this infamous company on Google)

There is so much code that needs to be updated and modernized, but so few people to work on them. Thus, he who leads, is to have his head rolled.

Same old thing but change, change and change, BUT NO BUG FIXES
The problem with Delphi is quality. Developers are tired of being served the same-old-thing year after year, with few bugs fixed and more and more regressions. Depreciate the VCL and replace it with FireMonkey. But FireMonkey is slow as snail. The DataSnap guys were fired and nobody to maintain them. The VCL database people were fired and new directions from their newer Russian office to replace it.

The guys at California guys, Russia don't talk well nor co-ordinate to their Spanish counterparts nor Romanian counterparts. The only language that unites them is English.

Three versions of RadStudio for PHP or HTML5Builder but no good break-through in the PHP market.

Lemming Leaders
The people who stood for change were too radical and let go. Visionaries were let go because the risks were too high. The problem is not the risk, it is the follow-through. Many of Borland's products were just pump and dump. From CodeWright (depreciated), StarTeam (blank F1 help), Bold (source-codes now lost), Blackfish (depreciated), Interbase (lots of bugs - use open-source Firebird instead).

They would have made visionary and innovative products if they fixed bugs and responded to customers.

Component Fraud
The AToZed guys were pulling wool over their eyes with their US$100,000 annual maintenance contracts. Seriously? Charging Borland US$100,000 a year for non-mainstream products. Nevrona was  charging US$200,000 a year for their dysfunctional Rave Reports. It must have been the best Teen Spirit Raving Party ever.

Double Digit Slow-down
The problem with Embarcadero is poor sales on all fronts. Interbase where people are moving towards PostGreSQL, Delphi where sales are dropping, partly due to XE2 iOS version materializing on XE4, promises about Android expected to be in XE6 (XE5 will be for show), Embarcadero's Database products are going down due to open-source free Database management solutions. SVN is taking hold, Free UML and free round-trip C# and PHP ORM designers are becoming more prominent.

Race for Android support in XE5 and Visual Fred moment.
Given the iOS fiasco, Good iOS and Android support is expected in XE6 or XE7 (i.e., similar to D7). Delphi XE5 will be for show just to get subscriptions and upgrades. Do you expect a good and great version of Delphi for Android in XE5, given the fiasco in XE2?

As Delphi's language is modernized, the Delphi advantages - String casting, easy usage of strings, VCL library everyone knows about is being swept away. Arc and reference counting mess is being replaced. String indexes can either be 1 or 0 depending on how you want it.

JBuilder revival is curious since it is eclipsed by Eclipse and IntelliJ.

Can I haz some money?
The people who do this, are so lowly paid. They are paid less than a box of Delphi a month while the top management pay themselves hundreds of thousands over. In Romania where you hear about the occasional Gypsy chicken and horse thief, grinding poverty in the outskirts of Bucharest, female Delphi social escorts plying their trade, they could not find good Delphi developer to work at Embarcadero because of the poor wages.

(A correspondent for this blog in Europe did check and find many Delphi developers asking for 2x or 3x the amount that Embarcadero is paying for. No wonder they could not find any Delphi developer in Romania).

Under EU laws, the people are paid just above minimum wage. It is much worse in Russia as labor laws are not well-enforced in Russia.

The people doing the grunt work to make Delphi tick are lowly paid. 200 boxes of Delphi would accommodate the whole Romanian team in Help|About T-e-a-m. But the people there are thinning out, the experts there are starting to become tired and disgruntled.

Beam me up, Scotty
Sales are down, but most of the money goes to the people at Scotts Valley. The people at Scotts Valley don't even bother to go to work. They often telecommute. They did threaten to close down the Romanian office (why not send them all to Romania instead?), blocked check-ins (aka Cock-block) from RemObjects, don't bother to follow-up on their Romanian workers, Spanish office and Russian office...

New Management Needed
It leaves a puzzling dilemma for the ex-Borlanders soon to retire whose stocks and shares depends on Delphi fortunes. The people who left, the visionaries were non-management staff and the old people there - when sales are down, they cut headcount to appease their principal investor - ThomaBravo...

But you cannot keep cutting people to bare minimum, expect people to work for very lowly wages, (70% below what you would pay an average German Delphi expert), pile tonnes of work on them, give them slow PCs, slow VMs, slow everything.

The only thing that seems to be optimized are the Mobile apps at the Employee's Handphones and private iPhones. Waiting too long? Play a short Farmville session on Mobile...

The management are paying people by time, not by money. Should it not be common sense to give them fast PCs, fast VMs and fast networking so they can do their jobs faster?

You cannot expect to keep cutting the experts and ship untested code, only to have it blow-up on the Embarcadero Newsgroups, You cannot expect to hire n00bs who do not have tools shipped with Delphi - AutomatedQA to use, full version of Steema, full version of DevExpress, or TMS codes to test for regression testing.

If someone there could download JVCL and post fixes to JVCL and JediVCL for XE4 instead of letting the community do it, they would see how much code is broken and fix them there. But nope. This is not allowed. They would have removed all the unnecessary duplicate code and possibly merge the JVCL and VCL to have a complete and correct Windows VCL implementation

You cannot expect to ship IOS version and let developers painfully wait two years for a good Delphi, when you do not have money to buy the Delphi/iOS development team the latest devices for testing.

Was it so hard to ask the FreePascal guys for a license to use? Is it so hard to fix bugs that HTML5Builder guys asked from the Delphi development team? HTML5Builder does not use FireMonkey because there were so many bugs in it. Was it so hard to fix Datasnap server bugs for AppWave. Then the AppWave skeleton crew-guys used Magneto instead.

The developers at Embarcadero are desperate. The management cannot claim that sales are up when their marketing team says year upon year of double digit growth. Growth of what? Double-digit growth of people going away from Delphi? Double-digit growth of salary for the top-management but double digit growth of bad equipment in Russian, Spain and Romania?

If the management cock-block access of third-party vendors check-in their source codes - RemObjects to the Embarcadero servers, would it be okay to remove the beaver-dam?

Fallen Heroes of Might and Magic... err... Delphi & C++ Builder
It is time for a new Delphi management - one where the people who have built Delphi - Jose Leon the HTML5 Builder guy, Eugene the KSDev guy, Dmitry the Delphi Dasha (DASoft) guy AND the former people who have left. Nick Hodges, the people who were fired. Hire them back and make them the new management. Not sure about Chad Hower the criminal troll. You can visit him in trolls natural habitat near the Yeti and Abdominal Snowman in Bhutan. He keeps arguing with the people on the newsgroups. Maybe make Jackson Gnomes and his assistant the new IntraWeb leaders and allow IntraWeb to use ASP.NET MSPL sources. Replace Indy with ICS. At least the people don't have to keep gnashing their teeth on every Indy update. Replace parts of DataSnap with DWScript and mORT instead.

(The trick is to make compatible API interfaces. So keep the same component-names but change/optimize the back-end codes).

Mass layoffs at Embarcadero, one by one...
Peter Reiks, Robert Couch, Marty Thomas, Tim de Chiro, Chris Benson, Adrian Andrei, Andreano Lanusse, Barry Kelly, Mark Edington, Nick Hodges, Mike Rozlog, Interbase principal engineer - Shaunuak Mistry, and many others were laid off over differences in the current Embarcadero management. They should be re-hired to lead the Delphi new management team.

The only good review of Embarcadero/Borland is Nick's at The rest are bad comments.

As the ex-Borland leaders at Embarcadero do not want to lead or even go to work, let the new leaders step up to lead instead.

Quietly, ThomaBravo is looking for investors to invest joint-venture of Embarcadero Compiler Business (notably JBuilder) or outright sale. They are shown the P&L of Embarcadero and paint a rosy picture of Embarcadero. It is not Embarcadero's fault. But the ex-Borlanders fault. Their mismanagement caused this mess.

If they keep laying off people, there will be nobody left to update Delphi except to keep renaming it - updating the Copyright Notices for that new Delphi version on upgrade time. They do not even have people to update the Delphi Icon to make it different for the next version or fix many of the serious bugs (and regression tests to make sure they are fixed).


Tubby said...

I think I could strengthen your line of argument.

Revenue 41 mio - Credit Rating High. First I thought this is positive. In Europe we tend to think in terms of creditworthiness/solvency. Since you have an income-statement at your disposal, please cross check the revenue and make out if the revenue is current. If it's current the credit rating given could be relevant too. Maybe it's an old one.

Most of the jobs mentioned I think are kinda sinecure for respected members of the Delphi community.

I don't blame people ... it's their freedom to marry whoever they like, but listen
Reminds us of
(Home improvement)

The sad point is - in order to emulate sex with hot ladies that scratch your back the Delphi developer today recalls such an amazing experience with the help a screw driver being the last affordable option left.

Tell me a name and bring me a head. That's the game.

AppWave ... Once a wise man said - if you cannot make it better or cheaper sell you competitors products. Indeed but what he meant was - before creating the product.

I don't blame the Insider for doing his job ... he has to act within the boundaries of constraints given ... but
have a look at the recommendation.

Tim has amazing breadth and depth, handling everything from complex product pricing and packaging issues, to ... accomplishes twice what most. -> This is the precise definition of the customer's enemy.

Assuming the loss in sales mentioned on your blog in one of the former articles is correct the current strategy obviously is aiming at compensating loss in sales by selling 2 versions a year and one at 0,5 times the price. In summary 1,5 times a sales reduced by 33%. Kicking the can down the road.

The Scotts Valley Trials Project - A Digital Document Collection. Will have to provide an article. Already exploring synergies with my upcoming but still empty blog - Facing the Legacy.

Tubby said...

Musical rendering was not so easy. Amazing news ... anyway.

The song of the Delphi developers who are still young at heart, about the Big Things in Live little children dream of and growing up.
(Georg Danzer - Große Dinge)

Mrs. Edith Klinger moderated a TV show in Austria that tried to find new 'parents' for homeless/abandoned animals - black dogs with 3 legs for example - a parody
(German language ... it's ambigious)

Maybe we could organize an auction in fashion of a hangout on Google and try to get a few hundred bucks for the Embarkadero guys... in Scotts Valley.

Look, nice little David with the big bushy beard. Only one hand because an incensed customer after having read how the ARC compiler is implemented...
chopped off his right hand and cried, 'You! You never again...'.

btw: At the time when Danny Torphe left ... my reply on a newgroup these days

Hallo ,,,!
Yes this is the biggest shock the world has seen since Hiroshima:-) I personally think we should wish him good luck in his new job.
... I see the darkness spreading. I see death...
But now the real shocking news."Riese Rübezahl is back", god heavens, right at the borcon 2005:-), this must have been the ultimate thrill.
or the legendary - I have always worn my Borland T-Shirt, looks more like - I'll always eat my Borland TShirt.

It was so obvious ... that the dead came with this man. Somehow a Scary Movie but a different one ...
This is Delphi today.

alcalde said...

>ThomaBravo is quietly looking for new
>potential joint-investors or possible
>sale of Embarcadero.

Is there a source for this information?

Also, for the second time I need to point out that Barry Kelly wasn't fired or laid off from Embarcadero. He quit.

>It's a fact that Delphi has been
>around for long enough that changing
>it significantly isn't really an
>Delphi is very procedural. It grew out
>of Pascal, a language designed in an
>era when memory was very expensive. So
>most of its core runtime is based
>around mutation and destructive
>But the longer I've been coding, the
>greater and greater benefit I see to
>more functional approaches - which
>pretty much require garbage collection
>- and persistent data structures like
>you see in Clojure.
>I've also lost some of the object
>orientation religion I first picked up
>when I was ...teenage....But these >days, I see the bureaucracy and
>busywork involved in creating class
>hierarchies, how it can fool you into
>thinking you're doing productive work >when you're filling out various idioms
>and "patterns". Some problems - like
>GUI widgets - work really really well
>with OO. But others work far better
>with the functional approach, where
>the set of data structures is closed >but the set of methods is open. >Shoehorning these into OO results in
>ugly architectures with extra >indirections.
>Suffice it to say, if I was creating a
>language I was truly in love with, it
>would look quite different to Delphi.
>...Just to put the record straight,
>"they" didn't let me go; I left.

alcalde said...

Actually, I have several problems with this article.
>In Romania where you hear about the
>occasional Gypsy chicken and horse

being offensively racist, to the suggestion that people who telecommute are simply lazy, it mixes some sensible analysis with a lot of unjustified insults that dilute the message.

It also fails to address the larger picture. Delphi's problems might have followed it from Borland to Codegear to Embarcadero in the form of poor management, but Delphi has problems far beyond that or what they're paying in Romania. The reality is they're far behind in technology and trying to play catch-up with very limited resources. Borland recognized many years ago that development tools were becoming a commodity. They were correct. Delphi needs to provide value over and above the more than a dozen open source languages in existence, the IDEs, the databases, the frameworks like Qt (which has about 10 times the number of developers working on it as EMB has on all aspects of Delphi and Firemonkey).

The bigger question is could the best management team in the entire world make an old language popular again or add more than $1000USD of value above the free alternatives today?

>Now Embarcadero is making annoying
>changes to Delphi to force developers
>to upgrade.

How are the changes forcing people to upgrade? If they don't like the changes, that would make them NOT want to upgrade. And in reality the changes are about modernizing the language. Too many users have continued to use deprecated code constructs and now they're upset that they'll finally be disappearing. They've bought into the Delphi Mythology and don't understand that the Delphi team is too small and sales too small to make porting the old, bloated compiler and libraries in their entirety feasible.

I also wish this blog would stop recommending rehiring Nick Hodges. Mr. Hodges (at least externally) has been the real-life version of Mr. Smithers from the Simpsons, endorsing everything Borland/Codegear/Embarcadero do. He adamantly argued against Delphi needing a 64-bit version, he argued against getting rid of Delphi.Net, he said not a word during the entire EULA/database controversy, posted a "+1" when it was all over and someone said they were glad it worked out, then on his blog criticized not EMB but the people who had been angry with them. He's what we don't need more of... although that even he managed to get fired from EMB speaks volumes about what it must be like to work there. Barry Kelly, on the other hand, wanted to modernize the language and is from a younger generation with a grasp on more popular, mainstream technology such as functional programming. Putting him in charge of language development would be a huge plus. Marco has been fine as product manager but would probably be better taking David I.'s job of developer relations, especially as he's related with more developers than David I. ever has, in person and through his blogs and books.


>Quietly, ThomaBravo is looking for
>investors to invest joint-venture of
>Embarcadero Compiler Business (notably
>JBuilder) or outright sale.

This bit makes the claim very hard to swallow unless ThomaBravo is composed of out-of-touch fanboys like David I. How could they seriously hope to convince people that there's a market for JBuilder, which hasn't been touched since 2008 (or probably sold a copy since then)? Between Eclipse, Intellij, NetBeans and Anjuta, where in the world would the market be for JBuilder? That's got to be the most useless product in EMB's portfolio. If they're trying to monetize it it might just be a last-ditch effort before killing it off officially. Perhaps that's what sparked this rumor?

Delphi Haters said...


The two requests were left as-is for Nick because the original sources we received it from, the message was not changed nor diluted.

The insults were Romanian and Spanish stereotypes. These were what the people were saying behind the backs. It got picked-up and mentioned here because of the vitriol that formed within Emb. You don't call Romanians and Spaniards bad things unless you are culturally insensitive. The message to convey is the animosity between the hard-working lowly paid Romanian, Russian and highly paid USA team.

For such statements to reach this blog, you can imagine the toxic work environment brewing at Emb.

> Perhaps that's what sparked this rumor?

This is based on facts. They lost lot of money, the management don't want to listen, immune towards firing (firing all others except themselves), want to get JBuilder running again but it seems IntellJ beat them instead.

You can verify the cock-block VCS issue with RemObjects and prices with AToZed.

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