If you’ve been around a group of ComponentOne or GrapeCity PowerTools people in the last few months, you may have seen us whispering in hushed tones and speaking in odd high-level there-is-something-I-can’t-tell-you statements. Today I’m pleased to be one of the people who can (finally) explain why. As of July 1, 2012, GrapeCity has acquired ComponentOne!
For nearly two decades, ComponentOne and GrapeCity have enjoyed a very close relationship. In Japan, GrapeCity PowerTools are the top selling controls, and they include localized versions of ComponentOne studios (in the US market, people know GrapeCity PowerTools as ActiveReports and Spread, more on those in a bit). Our companies have collaborated at the highest levels for many years.
GrapeCity has a beautiful history, and one we’re very proud to be part of. GrapeCity’s origins stretch back to the period just after World War II. Japan was devastated, and a group of American missionaries went to Japan to open schools and help rebuild the country. Over the next four decades, these schools became very successful and very popular academies. When the PC revolution came in the 1980s, the academies began to develop software to streamline their operations. Shortly thereafter, a company (named Bunka Orient Corporation) was founded to sell this management software to other schools. Today, LeySer school management software is the leading software in its markets. In 2002, as Bunka Orient expanded into other countries, they realized a name change was in order to reduce confusion with other companies and to have more international brand. GrapeCity was chosen as the new name.
While developing LeySer, Bunka Orient found there were few components available for the Japanese market. Bunka Orient began localizing and reselling some of the leading components, creating the first Power Tools line in 1993. In 1994, ComponentOne components were added to the Japanese PowerTools line, and in 1999, FarPoint Spread became part of the Japanese Power Tools line. In 2008, Grape City purchased and rebranded Data Dynamics (maker of ActiveReports), entered the US market, and originated the GrapeCity PowerTools line we’re familiar with in the US. In 2009, GrapeCity purchased and rebranded FarPoint, including Spread in the US GCPT line.
With the purchase of ComponentOne, GrapeCity PowerTools and ComponentOne will be merged into a new company, known as “ComponentOne, a Division of GrapeCity”. ActiveReports and Spread will again be rebranded, to ComponentOne ActiveReports and ComponentOne Spread. In the coming weeks, the GrapeCity PowerTools office in North Carolina will be closed, many GrapeCity personnel will move to Pittsburgh (the home of ComponentOne) and all ComponentOne personnel will become GrapeCity employees.
GrapeCity’s goal is simple–to be number one in every market they are in. So far, so good, and with the acquisition of the company Info-Tech rated “the clear leader and champion of the development tools space” (http://c1.ms/it), this will continue. With the acquisition of ComponentOne, GrapeCity will have over 850 employees spread across 18 offices in 10 countries, all working for our hundreds of thousands of customers worldwide.
Tech-Ed North America will be the “debutante ball” for the new ComponentOne. It will be difficult to miss us, and you’ll probably notice a new spring in everyone’s step. You can take great pride in your work when you know you are providing developers controls that complement Microsoft controls better than any other vendor on the market. Our controls are built by developers, for developers, who understand the need for easy and familiar controls, giving one more time to focus on business logic. Nowhere else can you find such powerful reporting tools, amazing Excel-like spreadsheet controls and well designed business intelligence and data visualization tools.
We have been working for months to ensure a smooth transition for our customers, and we still have quite a bit of work to do. You’ll be seeing many cosmetic changes on our websites and tradeshow materials, but our mutual core values will remain the same. More information regarding sales, support and licensing will be available as we get closer to the official acquisition date. The legacy of integrity, respect, partnering and building permeates all the companies involved–GrapeCity, DataDynamics, FarPoint and ComponentOne all share these values, so we are all a natural fit together. As the largest control vendor in the world, we’ll also continue to bring you the best controls you can buy.
I look forward to seeing everyone on the road, with my snazzy new shirt and business cards. Let us know what you build!