"Microsoft Bails Out Rival Corel"
October 3, 2000 12:13 AM   Subscribe

"Microsoft Bails Out Rival Corel"...but the "L-word" is never mentioned. Still, looks like MS-branded Linux and/or a port of Office to Linux just became a lot more possible.
posted by aurelian (7 comments total)
There's a (probably apocryphal) story in Ottawa that Gates went up to Cowpland about 10 years ago and said something like, "OK, you guys are going great. But sometime in the future we might want to buy you. When we do, we'll give you our terms, and you accept them as-is, no discussion. If not, we'll bury you. We'll put out a graphics app in a month that will make Draw obsolete."

Now Corel has turned to junk since then, mostly cause they never developed anything on their own, they just repackaged other people's stuff. Adobe's entry into the Windows world sunk them long ago, and they've been getting weirder ever since. But it looks as if that scenario - though doubtless it's a fictional story - more or less has come true.
posted by mikel at 8:12 AM on October 3, 2000

One possibility is Microsoft producing Linux products. The other far more likely possibility is that Corel stops producing Linux products and concentrates on .NET.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 8:30 AM on October 3, 2000

Is anyone else curious how MS is going to pull .NET off? If they're marketing the technology to consumers, they're going to have to invest in/buy/steal/push MAJOR bandwidth to the home.

I live on the North Shore of MA and my only option at the moment is relatively expensive DSL (service plus router/modem). AT&T Broadband (formerly Media One) hasn't gotten their act in gear to get Cable modems yet.

But being someone who will easily eat up the bandwidth cable provides through home networking, networked appliances, streaming audio, personal Web site, etc....something like this .NET is going to make me want the 384K line I have at work or better yet - the T3-backed ATM network at my wife's office.

Is bandwidth ever going to get more affordable?
posted by bkdelong at 10:26 AM on October 3, 2000


Microsoft's invested in putting LEO satellites up in the sky. I can't remember which though, but I don't think it's Teledesic. Can anyone easily remember offhand?

Also, the current bottleneck is bandwidth. Both in an Internet bandwidth sense, and in an internal to the CPU bandwidth sense. Data needs room to travel, and providing that room is tricky. 10 years ago it was memory, 10 years before that it was disk space, and 10 years before that it was processor speed. I can't wait to see what we get in 10 years.

I think Microsoft's entire .NET platform is being setup in such a way that, should they be broken up, the Application company can laugh it's way to the bank, while the OS company continues doing what it's doing.

An OS-Only Microsoft has a pretty good chance of remaining in business. For the most part, Windows is a reasonable operating system. Sure, there's a lot about it that I don't like, but there's a lot about unix and unix-like OSes that I don't like, and there's a lot about MacOS (only real experience is with 9, so we'll see...) that I don't like.

MS has a massive install base, and that's an important issue. They've got 3 main operating system lines, all of which a user can fairly easily switch between. The nice, standardized interface. A network admin needs to know details about the difference, sure, but casual users know how to get and start their programs.

.NET, if done properly, can be geared towards being platform independant. Whether or not MS will do that is another story, but now they've got a cadre of experienced Linux developers to source the porting details out to.
posted by cCranium at 11:36 AM on October 3, 2000

Bill Gates invested his own money in Teledesic. It's in their FAQ.
posted by tomalak at 11:40 AM on October 3, 2000

It's not as if Microsoft has actually bought Corel. Their stock is non-voting, as with the Apple deal.

And it's not as if they have to buy Corel to get experienced Linux developers. For $135 million they could just hire Corel's staff out from under them, or for that matter recruit any number of gurus for ludicrous salaries.

It's the kinder, gentler Microsoft -- prop up your competition to keep the DOJ off your back. If Corel does stage a comeback, it could end up being a good investment as well.
posted by kindall at 6:19 PM on October 3, 2000

The deal provides for Microsoft to purchase 24 million of Corel's non-voting convertible preferred shares at $5.625 a share.

They have the ability at some time in the future to convert them from preferred (non-voting) shares to common (voting) shares. The exact terms under which that could take place would be part of the deal and probably are secret.

posted by Steven Den Beste at 8:56 PM on October 3, 2000

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