Market analysis on native code vs .NET usage with Delphi customers  

Market analysis on native code vs .NET usage with Delphi customers

(In parts taken from my article “The alternative Delphi roadmap to success - An open letter to Borland/DevCo/DTG”, written October 12th 2006,

We’ll first have a look at today’s Delphi customers. What do they use, and what are they interested in?

Let's investigate a few sources to find out.

Turbo Delphi download counts

  • Delphi Win32 48%

  • C++ Win32 24%

  • Delphi .Net 14%

  • C# .Net 14%

(After verifying with other download mirrors, these numbers are believed to have a maximum deviation of 5%).

72% of people interested into Turbo Editions are interested in native development.

Component market

Delphi components that have seen updates/new releases by their authors/component vendors during November 2006 - data taken from, the biggest Delphi component directory:

  • Delphi/C++ Win32: 19

  • Delphi .Net: 1

  • Kylix: 1

For comparsion, we are taking the Top 20 downloads from

Lot's of interesting data here. We'll have a look at the Top 3 downloads:

AVLLock Gold Download counts:

  • Delphi Win32: 18016

  • Delphi .NET: 1285

Interesting: The highest single-version download count is for Delphi 7: 4688.

DISQLite3 Download counts:

  • Delphi Win32: 21089

  • Delphi .NET: 0 (n/a)

VCL Skin 4:

  • Delphi Win32: 52109

  • Delphi .NET: 0 (n/a)

Community feedback

On Wednesday, October 04, 2006, Nick Hodges asked Borland customers who decided not to upgrade to the current product offerings what the reason of this decision was. There was an overwhelming feedback, both in that Blog’s comments, as on the Borland public newsgroups.

The most frequent reasons for not upgrading given were (not ordered, just the most frequent answers given picked out):

  • Missing support for Win64

  • It does not contain support for Unicode

  • Missing upgrade path from previous version

  • Previous product versions (Delphi 6 and 7 mentioned most often) are equally good or better than current product offerings (speed, stability)

  • No interest in .NET, which recent product version are focussed on

  • Bad product quality of recent product versions

  • Bad documentation in recent product versions (Help)

  • Switched to Visual Studio

  • Missing Linux strategy

  • Unsure about the future of Borland/DevCo

  • Switched to FPC/Lazarus

  • No Internet sales

  • High pricing outside of the US

If we filter out all answers not related to the roadmap like sales, "no longer a customer" etc, this leaves us with:

  • Missing support for Win64

  • It does not contain support for Unicode

  • Missing Linux strategy

  • Bad product quality of recent product versions

  • Bad documentation in recent product versions (Help)

Further, having a look outside this specific poll, there are indicators that most people that communicate on the Internet about Delphi are talking about Win32 -, Germany's biggest Delphi forum (548.737 postings) has even closed it's Delphi.NET subforum completely due to inactivity.

Borland quality central

For Delphi, the highest voted report with 738 votes is "Create native 64-bit compiler/IDE that targets AMD64 and Intel's 64-bit (IA-32e) extensions". Also, Unicode is on the list (79 votes). An additional request not mentioned yet is shipping dbexpress sources.

The other high-voted reports are about product defects.

For Delphi.NET, the highest voted entry has 220 votes, and is about allowing the usage of VS plugins inside BDS.

For the TOP10 reports of Delphi, a total of 1651 votes was given. For the TOP10 of Delphi.NET, a total of 316 votes was given.

84% of the votes given on QC are about native Delphi. Only 16% of the votes are given for Delphi.NET.

Versions used

While we don't have an exact source for this, the findings above indicate that there is a high number of Delphi users that haven't upgraded at all during the last years - it appears that right now there are much more users using Delphi 5,6,7 in production than customers using Delphi 2006. Indicators for this are:

  • Frequently, if people are asking on the newsgroups and on different web forums, they mention they are using Version 5, 6 or 7.

  • Download counters at component websites like delphipages and torry indicate that the most often downloaded versions are for Delphi 6 and 7.

This is interesting to note.


We've seen that 72% of all Turbo Explorer downloads are about native Delphi/C++ code for Win32. We've seen that more than 99% of the Delphi component market are about native Delphi. We have seen that 84% of the votes given in Borland's QC feedback system are about native Delphi code.

We may safely assume that 80-90% of Delphi customers are mostly interested in native code. While market interest for .NET appears to be really strong, Delphi does not have a significant market share in this area – people focussed on .NET seem to have left Delphi in favour of Microsoft’s product offerings.

This is a strong indicator that Borland’s Delphi strategy has been flawed. Delphi still is strong where it’s better than the big competitor – in native code. Delphi is doing extremely poor in the space Microsoft is leading the field in.