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Borland Software is releasing code from its core JBuilder integrated development environment (IDE) into the Eclipse open source community after a surprise drop in first-quarter sales.

The company hopes to offset JBuilder's R&D expenses by putting the suite into Eclipse, where the open source community would - theoretically - drive API and feature improvements.

Speaking to Wall Street analysts yesterday, Borland's chief executive Dale Fuller indicated Borland would continue to develop an enhanced version of JBuilder.

"We will give customers something that's differentiated in the market and do it with a lot less investment on our part," Fuller said.

Borland is expected to announce full details of its plans during the next couple of weeks, however Fuller did indicate Borland expects to make money from the move by charging enterprise users for support of the open source product. Borland was unable to provide further details at time of going to press.

The company's decision, while not unexpected, will be seen by some in the open source community as an attempt to use Eclipse as dumping ground for dying products. JBuilder was once a market leader, according to analysts, that led IBM's Visual Age for Java, later re-branded as WebSphere by IBM.

For the overall quarter to March 31, Borland reported increase net income to $3.6m, up from $713,000, on revenue that fell 2.1 per cent to $71.3m. Earnings per share (EPS) came in at half their total for the same period last year, on 3 cents. The company said it closed its lowest number of deals worth more than $1m for six quarters.

Earlier this month, Borland warned Wall St to expect revenue between $70m and $72m, with EPS between 3 cents and 5 cents. Fuller declared he was "personally frustrated" by the quarter's performance.®

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