In the face of poor financial forecasts, Digital has spun off a separate company to sell C and C++ testing tools for the Windows environment.
The supplier has retained a 60 per cent stake in the Trace Point Technology start-up, but a further 20 per cent of the shares are held by TracePoint?s 24 staff and a further 20 per cent by a consortium of venture capitalist firms, headed by Sequoia Capital.
The board of directors includes two Digital employees. Jay Zager is vice president of operations and Paul Milbury is vice president and treasurer. Two former Digital staff, Mike Skelton, president and chief executive and Amitabh Srivastava, vice president of engineering and chief technical officer join the team.
The two VC representatives are John Tiberi, a partner at ETEC Business Consultants, and Mark Stevens, general partner, Sequoia Capital. Zager said: "DEC is not in the business of selling PC software, so we didn?t want this as a DEC business unit because our stated aim is to focus on our core technology. There is no DEC money or day-to-day involvement in this, but we expect to gain financial advantage from it. It will either go public or we?ll sell our stake to a suitable buyer. We expect a handsome financial return - we can have our cake and eat it too."
Trace Point?s technology is based on tools originally developed by Digital's Western Research Laboratories for the Alpha-based Unix platform.
The tools, which were bundled free with the system, include an optimiser that takes source code and turns it into binaries, after adding probes. These probes enable developera to monitor code for bugs and make improvements to the binaries, without affecting the original source code.
Digital will retain the rights to the Unix tools, but Trace Point expects to unveil its first C and C++ offerings for Windows 95 and NT within a mont and be available by April.
It also expects to launch Java-based tools by the end of the year, with Visual Basic support under discussion.
Users will be able to download products for evaluation at http://www.tracepoint.com/, but the firm also hopes it can set up a two-tier distribution strategy.
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