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Turbopower R.I.P.

Turbopower software announced today that they are exiting the development tools bidness after nearly 20 years.  They specialized in component libraries for Delphi, ActiveX controls, and testing/QA tools.  They were very well respected in the community, and this is huge, huge news.

There are several factors that I think made their business unsustainable:

1. They were very expensive.  $200-$300-$400 range.

2. Recent quality had been slipping - I assume because the more senior developers either left or moved on to the casino IT consulting side of their business.

3. They never used Electronic Software Delivery (ESD) - the ONLY way to buy a Turbopower product was via a heavy shipped box full of big printed manuals and CDs.  For those developers outside the USA, the shipping and customs duty were absolute murder.

Of the three, I think the complete lack of ESD was their downfall.  Charging a premium for a product is one thing, making it very difficult/painful to get is quite another.  Somebody over there never figured this out.

Comments?

Mitch & Murray (from downtown)
Wednesday, January 08, 2003

Maybe this problem is unique to where Turbopower is in the market. Turbopower's market is mainly Borland language users. There is a HUGE quantity of free, open source, and low cost one-man-shop tools available out there for Delphi and C++ Builder.

A lot of Turbopower's tools, while having the company name to back them up, look pretty similar to very low cost alternatives available for free or low cost download.

But I always wondered how prudent it was to build a company that creates niche tools that cater to geeks. We're notoriously cheap, and 'most' of us don't like other people's code. And Turbopower doesn't have a name that suits and managers tend to fall all over themselves to praise in mindless adulation, like Microsoft, or Oracle...

Don Wallace
Wednesday, January 08, 2003

To Mitch and Murray's list I would add one more, which was suggested by one commenter in a thread on a Borland newsgroup.

TurboPower had a head office (in Colorado Springs) and its employees all worked at that office.    Having employees places them at a financial disadvantage to the one-man shops with low overhead.  Having a head office placed them at a disadvantage to, e.g., Developer's Express, which apparently has coders around the world who collaborate virtually.

This may have been a factor in combination with the items pointed out by Mitch and Murray.  Especially, since major toolmaker Dev Express -- which produces higher quality tools at a higher price -- appears to be thriving.

Herbert Sitz
Wednesday, January 08, 2003

>>Maybe this problem is unique to where Turbopower is in the market. Turbopower's market is mainly Borland language users. There is a HUGE quantity of free, open source, and low cost one-man-shop tools available out there for Delphi and C++ Builder.

I have to agree with this, I started my business selling components and found it is a very difficult market unless you are selling something really hard to do or time consuming to develop.

I also wonder if part of this is due to a demise in Borlands fortunes.

Tony E
Wednesday, January 08, 2003

What "demise in Borland's fortunes"?

As last weeks San Jose Mercury News said, Borland is "is one of only 20 Silicon Valley companies whose stock has gone up since the Nasdaq composite index peaked March 10, 2000. "

Borland is actually doing amazingly well, and has shown solid profits the last three years.  You can read the Mercury News article at this link:
http://www.siliconvalley.com/mld/siliconvalley/news/local/4865330.htm

Herbert Sitz
Wednesday, January 08, 2003

Another interesting fact about all this is that TurboPower are promising to release all of their components to the open source community.

John Topley
Wednesday, January 08, 2003

IMHO, Aristocrat (owner) took all the Turbopower developers and now use them for their own projects, leaving nothing for Turbopower products.

Fred L.
Wednesday, January 08, 2003

Releasing all the components to open source will hurt certain vendors, because TurboPower has pretty competitive products in many categories. This will cause alot of problems in the future.

Fred L.
Wednesday, January 08, 2003

Agreed.  If the open source versions of the TurboPower VCL components take hold and are maintained, it will pretty much wipe out the businesses of a number of competing companies.

Mitch & Murray (from downtown)
Wednesday, January 08, 2003

Wow.  I had no idea TurboPower was still in business.

I remember using Turbo Extender to build a Pascal application back in 1988.  I dropped by Kim Kokkonen's house to buy the software; it appeared as though he was running the whole business out of a back room.

Kim seemed like a nice guy, and I certainly had no compliants about the software.  Sorry to hear the news.

Hardware Guy
Wednesday, January 08, 2003

With open source, is there still a market for "library companies" like Rogue Wave?

runtime
Thursday, January 09, 2003

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