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Little Substantive Linux Information in Corel/Microsoft Deal: Details to Come

Oct 03, 2000, 12:03 (21 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Michael Hall)

By Michael Hall, LinuxToday

The press conference conducted by Microsoft and Corel to announce their new partnership, which representatives from the two companies say will be centered around Microsoft's .NET initiative, bore the distinction of having more verbiage in its "forward looking statements" disclaimer than the statements of the two executives delivering the news to the press.

The substance of the story the two companies are willing to release, is well-covered, frankly, by the press release: Microsoft bought a 24.6% non-voting stake in Corel. In return, Corel's going to be working on marrying its existing applications (such as WordPerfect Office and CorelDRAW) to the .NET platform, which is slated for general release the "second half of 2001." Microsoft's shares being non-voting, the company will have no formal control over Corel's operations.

Where Linux is concerned in the deal, the details were scarce.

When asked if we might see Corel's Linux operations on either the OS or application side brought in under the .NET platform, Corel's acting CEO, Derek Berney, responded by saying "You just might." The partnership and the direction in which it takes Corel may include, said Berney, "a variety of Linux things as far as Corel is concerned."

"We'll be rolling out details on our strategy as we put months behind us," he said.

In other words, there likely isn't a strategy yet where Linux is concerned and Corel can't discuss something it doesn't have.

He also claimed his company's concentration on the .NET platform won't represent a diversion of resources from the company's Linux efforts in applications and its Linux OS. Despite typical press release hyperbole using words like "exciting" and "important," Berney said Corel's embrace of .NET may not represent as large a change of direction as the marketing suggests: "We don't consider it to be necessarily a big leap," he said.

Berney said that nothing about the change in direction calls for a lack of focus on Linux: "That's the desktop, and [.NET] is the Web." He also said nothing about the agreement between the two companies keeps Corel from choosing the platforms it wants to work with.

Microsoft's Tom Button, General Manager of the company's developer division stuck to the company's ongoing line about its interest in porting Microsoft Office to Linux, saying Microsoft has "no plans along those lines as far as I know."

Button also said that his company's strategy for .NET allows for "some competing applications on the .NET platform as well as any platform."

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