Borland International, Inc.


In 1985, a company called Ansa Software released a new high-speed relational database management system (RDBMS) for DOS 2.0 called Paradox. In September 1987, Borland purchased Ansa Software including their Paradox product.

Versions up to 3.5 were evolutions of Ansa Software's original version 1.0, but from 4.0 Borland retooled the product in Borland's C++ windowing toolkit and employed a different extended memory (XMS) access scheme. It was one of the most successful DOS-based databases, competing against dBase, Clarion, DataEase and R:Base.

Paradox 4.0 for DOS

One of the features that made Paradox unique and very accessible to non-technical buyers was its Query By Example, or QBE. This meant rather than having to understand a query language to request data from the database, you were presented with a visual representation of tables where you could enter in commands and give examples and conditions. Microsoft later leveraged this functionality in its own product, Access.

Paradox 2.0 for DOS

Paradox 2.0 was released in 1986 (before Borland's buyout of Ansa Software), but for some version 2.0 boxes that were produced after, the cover read "Ansa - A Borland Company".

Paradox 3.0 for DOS

By the time Paradox 3.0 was launched, the product packaging mimicked the standard colourful, clean and professional image of the other products in the Borland suite.

Paradox 3.5 for DOS

Launched in August 1990, Paradox 3.5 was available on both 3.5" or 5.25" floppy disk and often both formats were shipped in the box. It came on nine 360 KB 5.25" floppies or five 720 KB 3.5" floppies.

Paradox 4.0 for DOS

Paradox 4.0 had a list price of $795 at launch in August 1992, but you could upgrade an existing older version to 4.0 for just $199.95. It came on two 1.44 MB floppy disks, having been largely rewritten from scratch in Borland C++. Documentation was unchanged from version 4.0 to 4.5.

Paradox 4.5 for DOS

Launched in 1993, Paradox 4.5 was touted as being ten times faster than Paradox 3.5.

Paradox for Windows 1.0

In 1993, Borland released the first Windows version of Paradox. This had full compatibility with databases written in Paradox for DOS as well as dBase. At launch it sold for $495, but this was eventually reduced down to just $150.

The next version for Windows realigned the version numbering to match the highest version for DOS, 4.5.

When Corel Corporation bought Borland, they continued the Paradox line of products, and included it in their Corel WordPerfect Office bundle.

Borland also ported Paradox to IBM OS/2, with version 1.0 for OS/2 released in summer 1988. A version 2.0 was also released for OS/2.