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ZDNet: Evan Leibovitch: Corel going south? Cowpland leaving can mean only one thing

Aug 23, 2000, 09:19 (11 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Evan Leibovitch)

"Corel's slipping fortunes were no secret, yet Cowpland's stepping down seemed to take most people by surprise, and in a very unwelcome way. For Corel had publicly banked its future on Linux unlike no other company. It was the first company that wasn't founded on Linux to create its own distribution. It has a healthy (if shrinking in popularity) suite of applications that it was committing to port to Linux. And it was the first software publisher to use mainstream marketing techniques to increase global awareness of Linux. While bobsledding isn't exactly everyone's favorite spectator sport, seeing the Linux name plastered across a world championship sporting event certainly seemed like a watershed to me."

"And now here lies Corel, without the icon who has guided the company from the start. (Corel, after all, stands for COwpland REsearch Labs.) I fear that the resignation will be accurately read as a failure by Corel to satisfy its customers and investors. And considering that the company has committed its future so heavily to Linux, it will be seen in some circles as a failure of Linux."

"It's one thing for Linux companies to have low share prices and little revenue early in their public lives, but it's quite another to see an established company go down after having looked to Linux to save it. Maybe Cowpland's leaving, in itself, doesn't mean the company's a goner. But I guess I equate Corel with Cowpland so much I just can't picture a stable and independent Corel without him at the helm."

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