Delbert Yocam, whose resume includes stints at Apple Computer Inc. and Tektronix Inc., takes over Monday as chairman and CEO of Borland International Inc. Many industry observers have described Yocam as a highly competent manager, but some Borland-watchers questioned whether anyone will be able to jump-start the struggling development tools maker as it reels from a string of quarterly losses and executive departures. PCWeek Staff Writer Maria Seminerio talked to Yocam about the outlook for Borland and his recipe for a turnaround.
Q: Do you have an overall strategy for repositioning Borland's existing client/server tools and applications for the emerging Internet and intranet markets?
A: Over the next six months we're introducing three new products that we're very excited about- new client/server versions of our Delphi and C++ [applications] and the first rollout of Latte [Borland's Java development tool]. I think Borland is already very well positioned to move into the Internet and intranet space. We have some very talented developers working on this ... I think these new products will help lead the way.
I think the [Internet and intranet] market is wide-open right now. I think we have the capability to be a major player.
Q: Are you planning to drop any specific products from the lineup? I'm thinking specifically of products such as Interbase and ReportSmith. Are there any plans to shelve those?
A: It's too early to say whether specific products will be dropped. But we'll re-evaluate everything.
Q: Do you see any one product as the core of Borland's product line?
A: Delphi's been there since early in 1984. There are over 500,000 copies of Delphi out there, and when I talk to developers, they absolutely sing its praises. I think we can build on that popularity.
Q: What will be your first order of business next week?
A: We'll have to re-evaluate the U.S. market to look for ways to increase mindshare, and size the company to determine what needs to be done ... whether changes need to be made.
Q: Could those changes include more layoffs? Last month Borland said 15 percent of the workforce would be laid off ...
A: It's too early to say that right now.
Q: How does your experience as COO at Apple and Tektronix prepare you for this job?
A: In my time as COO at Apple [1985-1988], operating income increased sixfold, from $100 million to $600 million. That was a phenomenal growth story. The company was positioned for growth, as I think Borland is now. When I was at Tektronix [1991-1994], there was a point when a financier named George Soros was prepared to buy the company and split it up. We had to completely reorganize, get new financing ... and it was a success. We saved the company from being split up.