December 5, 1996 11:00 AM ET

NuMega hopes to gain Visual Basic debugger via acquisition
By Talila Baron

  Edging its way into the Visual Basic market, testing tools vendor NuMega Technologies Inc. is expected to announce next week its acquisition of Marquis Computing Inc.

Though terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed, NuMega officials say the merger will help the company provide debugging software for Visual Basic.

``We wanted to extend our error detection capabilities by expanding beyond Delphi and C++ into new languages, such as Visual Basic. Acquiring this company means we get into the VB market much sooner,'' said Tom Herring, president and CEO of NuMega in Nashua, N.H.

NuMega makes debugging software for Windows 95, Windows 3.1 and MS-DOS, but the company lacks a debugging tool for Visual Basic developers.

The two companies are expected to introduce new error detection software for Microsoft's VB 5.0 in the first quarter of 1997.

Marquis Computing, the maker of VB/Code Review- which examines a project for bugs in Custom Controls, Visual Basic, Windows and third-party tools-and VB/Fail Safe-a Visual Basic development tool with integrated debugging-will fill a hole in the NuMega product line, say analysts.

``This is a good move on NuMega's part. Previously, their tools had been focused on the operating system level. This will allow them to focus on the application level and on Visual Basic,'' said Judith Hurwitz, president of The Hurwitz Group in Newton, Mass.

Users said they welcome a richer array of VB testing tools.

``There are not a lot of VB testing tools on the market today, though there are quirks in VB. Marquis' VB/Fail Safe works to address those problems, which means I don't have to write a lot of excess error code,'' said Mike Williams, a programmer with Advanced ID Technologies Inc., in Milwaukee.

The market for testing and debugging tools in Windows is accelerating, said Hurwitz.

``Products like VB are being taken more seriously in the corporate development environment-so you have to have robust tools to make sure those apps don't come crashing down,'' she said.

NuMega's acquisition of Marquis points to a trend of consolidation in the testing tools market. In June, testing tools vendors Pure Software Inc. and Atria Software Inc. joined forces to create a $1.7 billion company. Earlier this fall, Rational Software Corp. bought Visual Test from Microsoft Corp. for $23 million and in November announced the acquisition of SQA Inc. in a stock swap.

NuMega plans to offer the Marquis products for sale under the Marquis brand and will begin marketing VB/Fail Safe and VB/Code Review under the NuMega brand beginning in the first quarter of 1997.

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