Inprise has played down concerns that the creation of an e-commerce portal division for its low-end application software is a precursor to selling directly over the internet.
In a far-reaching reshuffle, the software developer has created Borland.com, a Website for individual software developers that will, according to Inprise, 'have a significant e-commerce component in its distribution strategy'. Despite this, Inprise executives played down any adverse effects the change would have on the company's UK channel.
Nigel Brown, managing director of Inprise UK, insisted the creation of Borland.com would not affect existing relationships with any of its partners. 'From a channel perspective, this is good news, because you will see us focus even more on pushing third-party products as well as our own,' he said.
But Brown warned that it was only a matter of time before users start buying from the internet. 'At some stage, the channel will have to move forward. The internet is relatively weak in the UK, especially in consumer terms, but in business it is growing strongly,' he said.
According to Bob Grindley, commercial manager at Metrologie, the move would not affect the distributor's business. But he added: 'I'm not too surprised by the move because we are getting to the stage where the vendor feels the smaller user is not satisfied by existing channels.'
As part of the restructure, Inprise will shed about 20 per cent of its workforce. About 150 jobs will be lost in the US and in the Asia Pacific region, where economic instability has severely affected sales.
Borland changed its name to Inprise last April as it moved to position itself as a large enterprise software company. Brown said: 'We have two different businesses and the Borland name will continue to support the standalone business tools developer.'
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