Old foes join forces

Old foes join forces

Long-time rivals Microsoft and Inprise have announced a set of technology and licensing agreements that will be the basis for a long-term alliance between the two companies.

The agreement includes Microsoft buying $US25 million of Inprise preferred stock, but the companies pegged the value of the entire partnership for the development-tools vendor at $US125 million.

Enmity between the duo dates back to when Inprise, then known as Borland International, had a wider range of products that often put it in direct competition with Microsoft.

"Over a period of time, we have patented a number of technologies that Microsoft wanted to use and this $US100 million transaction now gives them access to our technologies, as well as us to their technologies," said Ray Bradbery, Inprise Australia and New Zealand's managing director.

Microsoft has made a long-term commitment to provide Inprise with technologies related to the Windows platform and Internet technologies and has paid Inprise $US100 million for the rights to use Inprise-patented tech- nology in Microsoft products. The companies have also agreed to settle a number of long-standing patent and technology licensing issues.

While Windows customers will benefit from Inprise's additional support of Microsoft technologies, Bradbery said Inprise will now be able to invest even more money in its research and development program, leveraging vertical market applications that plug into Borland/Inprise technologies and Internet tools.

"The agreement is a vote of confidence by one of the largest software companies in the world, joining Microsoft with the likes of Oracle and Sun who have already given Inprise their votes," Bradbery said.

As part of the Microsoft/Inprise partnership, Inprise has agreed to do the following:

Support the Microsoft Windows 2000 operating system, including the COM+ and the Windows Distributed interNet Applications (Windows DNA) architecture.

License the latest version of the Microsoft Foundation Classes (MFC), the standard C++ class library for developing applications for Windows. MFC will ship with Borland C++Builder.

License the latest version of the Windows platform software development kit (SDK) through the Microsoft Open Tools licensing program. Elements of the Windows platform SDK will be incorporated into Inprise's Borland family of Windows-based development tools.

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