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Inprise to name former Apple exec as CEO

Inprise plans to announce tomorrow that former Apple and WhoWhere executive Dale Fuller will become its new chief executive.

Inprise plans to announce tomorrow that former Apple and WhoWhere executive Dale Fuller will become its new chief executive, sources said.

Fuller will replace Del Yocam, who resigned from Inprise two weeks ago. Fuller is the former vice president and general manager of the PowerBook business unit for Apple and the former president and chief executive of WhoWhere, before the online directory was sold to Lycos.

Fuller will take over a company that has struggled in recent times. In the fourth quarter, the middleware and software tools maker laid off 190 employees after reporting a net income of $3.5 million on $48.2 million in revenue. Sales were $1 million below Wall Street estimates.

Inprise executives declined to comment.

Yocam, hired two years ago, and chief financial officer Kathleen Fisher resigned abruptly on March 31, the same day Inprise's quarter closed. An Inprise spokeswoman said at the time their were not tied to quarterly results, which will be released in mid to late April. But analysts have speculated that the first quarter results will be dismal.

Yocam, another former Apple executive, had attempted to steer the struggling company into the lucrative enterprise software business, which serves large corporations.

Last spring, the company bought middleware firm Visigenic Software and changed its name from Borland to Inprise to reflect the new strategy of providing enterprise and middleware software for businesses. At the heart of the company's new strategy was an application server, which combined technology from both Borland and Visigenic.

This spring, he restructured the company into two divisions: Borland.com, focusing on its development tools, and Inprise, specializing in enterprise and middleware products.

At the time of Yocam's departure, analysts believed Yocam had Inprise headed in the right direction, but couldn't get the company's enterprise software team to work with the development tools division.

"There was so much company history with the [development tools] part of the company that it was not in synch with the new strategy, the application server-centric view of the world," said analyst Mike Gilpin, of Giga Information Group, at the time of Yocam's departure. "It tore the company inside and reflected on Borland.com being separated."

Analyst Brian Goodstadt of Standard & Poor's Equity Group agreed. "It seemed like he had the company on the right path for a little while, but the past few quarters have been difficult," Goodstadt said recently. "They're facing some real tough competitors out there, like Microsoft, that have made it tough for them."

Analysts said it was probably a mistake to have changed the company name from Borland to Inprise. The analysts said the new leader would need to take better advantage of the Borland name, which resonates with software developers who recall the company's early years under founder Philippe Kahn.

Before finding Fuller, Inprise was run by an executive committee made up of James Weil, president of the Inprise division; John Floisand; president of the Borland.com division; Jay Leite, formerly vice president of business development and now acting as interim chief financial officer; and Hobart Birmingham, vice president and general counsel.