CenterView Software Inc, the San Francisco, California-based company that extracted and abstracted the most popular feature in PowerBuilder, the DataWindow, and made it available for Visual Basic, is being acquired by one of its partners, an undisclosed $1bn software company. Given CenterView’s expertise is adding functionality to Visual Basic – the DataWindow (a product formerly known as Choreo) allows developers to work with database tables in Informix, Oracle and other relational databases – its most appropriate suitor would seem to be Informix Software Inc, which may have a sexy new object-relational database but desperately needs help in the development tool area to attract ISVs that want to use Visual Basic get at data in its database. The two companies already have a close relationship – Informix is bundling CenterView’s Windows- and Web browser-to-relational database connectivity architecture called Data Neighborhood with the Universal Server database – and CenterView has previously likened its relationship with Informix to that between Powersoft and Sybase before the latter acquired the former; Informix didn’t argue with that interpretation (CI No 2,951). Software watchers we spoke to on Wall Street agreed that Informix, although not technically a $1bn company, is a more likely suitor for CenterView than the financially-troubled Sybase Inc. Sybase would only buy it to kill it since it gives Visual Basic the data window functionality that has been unique to PowerBuilder, Morgan Stanley said. CenterView says it has recognized its technology is more suited for use as infrastructure inside someone else’s product set than as a standalone suite. It has found it tough going it alone in the tools business, adding there’s lots of confusion in the tools market, but we believe [Microsoft] Visual Basic and Internet Studio will be predominant. CenterView, a 1993 privately-held start-up won $2.6m investment from Hummer Winblad and US Venture Partners in June 1995, and a further $3m funding and a $2.3m line of bank credit from the same VCs last August (CI No 2,970). The acquisition is due to complete January 23rd; CenterView is currently working out how to reposition existing relationships such as the bundling arrangement it recently struck with Princeton, New Jersey-based data modeling company Logic Works Inc.