I have started my first years of Windows Development using Delphi (which I call Visual Object Pascal) and I used it for quite few years and within 3 companies before I move to C#.
“Delfee” as pronounced in Greek or “Delf-eye” as pronounced in English was the place of the Oracle in the Greek mythology. That’s why Danny Thrope (Chief Scientist) chose the name to reference it as a language to communicate with the database (Oracle at that time), hence; “If you want to talk to Oracle, go to Delphi”
It is funny to know that Danny left Borland to Google and later to Microsoft, as well as Chuck Jazdzewski (Chief Scientist and Architect), and Anders Hejlsberg (Chief Architect) who moved to Microsoft to be the Lead Architect of the C# team.
The most stable versions of it were 5 and 7 (2002) while other versions did not get much acceptance, specially after the transition to .NET and removing Win32 support. Last I heard about Delphi was that it was going to be sold.
Last week, I found an announcement and I knew the rest of the story. Borland did not get an appropriate offer, so they split the Developer Tools Group into a self-managed company called CodeGear which continued to release Delphi targeting Win32 Development after the inability to compete with C# in .NET development.
Earlier this year, Borland sold CodeGear to Embarcadero Technologies and the later decided to issue two parallel releases, one for Win32 and one for .NET based on Microsoft Visual Studio Shell.
Delphi Prism for .NET is going to compete on the area of cross-platform development as it is going to target development on .NET as well as other non Microsoft operating systems.