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Linux Journal: Corel's Cruel Karma - When really bad things keep happening to a really good company

May 26, 2000, 08:00 (8 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by David Penn)

"Corel confirmed last Wednesday morning that its merger with Inprise/Borland has been abandoned, shedding some light, perhaps, on Michael Cowpland's absence from the LINUX Canada/New Media 2000 Conference & Expo, where he had been scheduled to give a keynote address the day before. At the same time, the announcement casts into shadow, at least, the short-term future of Canada's largest software developer, which has already mentioned impending cash shortages and the possibility of layoffs."

"Inprise/Borland is more than just Interbase, the popular RMDBS whose actual open-sourcing trails the initial announcement by about six months. In fact, Inprise/Borland is not Interbase, having decided to spin off Interbase as a separate company. However, an Interbaseless Inprise/Borland would still have been quite an addition to Corel Corporation, providing Corel with the application development talent that produced such tools and services as JBuilder and Delphi. Linux Journal's Doc Searls spoke with Inprise/Borland CEO Dale Fuller soon after the merger announcement was first made, and unfortunately for many people involved with both companies, filed a recent report on the merger's collapse."

"This is a shame. Corel makes good products, one of which (in the form of Corel WordPerfect Office 2000 for Linux) was on display at LINUX Canada last week. And insiders at both companies are said to be enthusiastic about a Corel/Inprise/Borland future, one which would combine the engineering and development talent of Inprise/Borland with the significant mindshare of Corel. But Corel is as much a victim of stock-market agonies and ecstasies as it is any of its own missteps or the misfortunes of the environment (the Microsoft Formerly Known As Both Immovable Object and Irresistible Force). Mounting threats of shareholder lawsuits, including one from an Inprise/Borland director, claiming, in effect, that Corel's stock was worth the swap and Inprise/Borland should have known better, led to continued bad press - which meant that if Corel's stock didn't look great before, it certainly wasn't going to start blooming like roses now."

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