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New Borland CEO Nielsen Says 'Clear Direction' Needed

He recommits company to focus on software-delivery optimization and application-life-cycle management.
Just five hours after being named CEO of Borland Software Corp., Tod Nielsen said in an interview Tuesday that he believes the struggling company is on the right track in focusing on software-delivery optimization and application-life-cycle management. But he also acknowledged that he's got some learning to do in his new job before he can say what specific steps he'll take to right the listing Borland ship.

"The first thing I've got to do is meet with the management team" and assess the company's predicament, along with getting feedback from customers, he said. But he said he's familiar with Borland's development-tool and application-life-cycle markets. "I've been working with Borland or competing with Borland for 16 years," he said. "If you look at my career, I've been made for this job."

Nielsen came to Borland from Oracle, where he served as senior VP of marketing and global sales support. Earlier he held marketing and management positions at Microsoft and BEA Systems Inc.

Borland lost $17.5 million on sales of $66.6 million in the second quarter, an announcement in July that was followed by the resignation of Nielsen's predecessor, Dale Fuller. The Nov. 1 third-quarter report under Scott Arnold, Borland's chief operating officer and interim CEO, was somewhat better, with a loss of $4.8 million on sales of $67.9 million.

With its Oct. 17 acquisition of Legadero Software Inc., Borland gained additional tools to manage and optimize the software-development process, part of its software-delivery-optimization initiative. Application-life-cycle management amounts to follow through on newly developed code as it goes into production, tracking its performance and managing needed changes, and providing feedback to developers.

The software-delivery-optimization and application-life-cycle-management initiatives will be continued as the company's most promising growth avenues, Nielsen said in the interview. The trick, he said, is to pursue them with "clear direction and decisive action. The time is now."

Nielsen told attendees at Borland's annual developer conference in San Francisco on Tuesday that developers remain a core competitive advantage inside many companies and Borland's main mission would be to continue to address developers' needs.