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
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
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