Desktop applications software vendor Corel said its commitment
to Linux remains strong despite last week's $135m investment by
Microsoft, the Linux community's biggest competitor.
Last week Microsoft surprised the industry when it announced
plans to pump cash into the Canadian vendor, which produces
Windows-based software such as Wordperfect that competes with the
Redmond giant's own desktop products. Corel has also ported many of
its applications to Linux and also distributes the open source
Speaking to vnunet.com, Derek Burney, who assumed the chief
executive position at Corel full time just after the announcement
was made, admitted that the company has had its "ups and downs"
with Microsoft. However, the alliance will "enhance our efforts for
web services. Both companies will get a lot out of it", he
As part of the investment, Corel will use Microsoft .Net as a
development platform to help it web-enable both its Linux and
Windows-based applications. Corel hopes this will allow it to
improve its so-called apps-for-rent and electronic software
Both vendors will also work together to support the development,
testing and marketing of new products related to the .Net
A Corel spokesman said: "Our Linux strategy hasn't changed
at all [following Microsoft's investment]. We're committed to
Linux. In our eyes, Microsoft's investment is a tremendous help to
our efforts to integrate Linux and our other apps with the web.
Microsoft doesn't have any influence over us or the way we do
Burney said Corel's future lies in the internet and believes
there are some interesting web-related technologies that have yet
to be created. "What you want to do is have an application designed
to run on the internet from the beginning," he said.
"Our most recent work has focused on strategies to move our
applications, including CorelDraw and Wordperfect, as well as Corel
Linux OS, on to the web."
However, some analysts have questioned the motives of
Microsoft's investment. The Redmond giant has also signed .Net
initiatives with software competitors IBM and Ariba.
Charles King, senior analyst at Zona Research, said: "Why try to
shove Microsoft Office down every consumer's throat when you can
cut a deal, make some friends, bring happy users of Wordperfect and
CorelDraw inside an ever-widening web-enabled tent, and shove a
stick into the eyes of myriad critics who claim Microsoft can't
play nice with the competition?"
Corel is expected to release version 10 of its CorelDraw
graphics software next month, which will represent one of the
product's biggest upgrades. The next version of Wordperfect Office
Suite is scheduled to be released in 2001. The company also expects
to add server and enterprise editions of Linux to its version of
the operating system optimised for desktops.
Corel has been in financial trouble since a proposed merger with
Inprise/Borland, which had $240m in cash reserves, was called off
in May this year when Inprise shareholders balked at the terms of
the deal. In August, founder and former chief executive Michael
Cowpland resigned from the company.
Things started to look bright for Corel in September when it
announced that an unidentified institutional investor planned to
buy about 20 per cent of its stock for more than $50m.
The software maker also embarked on a scheme last month to cut
costs by $40m a year. The plan affected 139 jobs in its engineering
operations in Dublin, which it has consolidated with its
headquarters in Ottawa, Canada. Professional services,
manufacturing and distribution have remained in Dublin.
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