"And what does Microsoft get for all its cash? That's where the
musings have become a full-lunged debate. Because it's far from
obvious exactly why Microsoft was desperate to invest in old Corel
software such as CorelDraw and WordPerfect, both of which are past
their primes, or in Corel's nascent Linux development program,
which hasn't previously been a priority for Microsoft...."
"A compelling argument is that Microsoft is looking at rival Sun
Microsystems and its new StarOffice project and is wondering how to
answer the competitive call. In less than a week, Sun will begin
giving away the word processing software for free as part of its
move into the market for Internet delivered software...."
"So the obvious solution is to give away someone else's word
processing software -- Corel's WordPerfect. It's a marginal
competitor anyway, and won't likely cannibalize Microsoft's core
business. For Microsoft, $135-million is not much to pay to protect
Word but still compete head-to-head with Sun."