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Microsoft Buys into Corel 241

Geek Boy writes: "Yahoo is one of the many sites with the story that Microsoft has purchased 24 million non-voting shares of Corel!" So now Microsoft has Word, and a big stake in Word Perfect. Hedging your bets ain't bad, course what will this mean for the Corel Office for Linux suite? And while they are non-voting shares, this looks like a huge percentage of Corel.
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Microsoft Buys into Corel

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  • well, microsoft now owns part of a linux disto...

    on the upside... at least they bought a bad one :)


  • by suwalski ( 176418 ) on Monday October 02, 2000 @01:25PM (#737744)
    The official Corel announcement can be found here [corel.com].
  • There already is a Windows emulator that doesn't run on Linux or Windows. It's called Odin [netlabs.org], and it has surpassed Wine in functionality.
  • Internet Explorer is much, much than Netscape.

    There's a missing from your sentence.


  • well its 1/4 of their stock that they picked up for around 75 million. not bad considering that is what it's chairmain makes in one tick of his MSFT stock
  • I hope everyone noticed that the article does NOT claim that Microsoft bought Corel. Microsoft bought preferred, non-voting stock. This means that Microsoft has no more or less legal authority over Corel than they did before. This is a symbolic move more than anything, to show that Microsoft now has an economic interest in seeing Corel do well.

  • You mean small shuck of Apple. I was/is less than 1% for total shares. Just some money to let people know that M$ wouldn't drop Office for the Mac.
  • WordPerfect 5.1 would make a pretty sweet text-mode editor.
  • Living in Ottawa, I am glad that someone has helped Corel out, since having Corel shutdown would be a bit painful to the local economy. I can only wonder what Microsoft wants with Corel, though.

    Thoughts that occur to me are:
    - Microsoft needs competition, and having WordPerfect go away would be very bad for their Anti-trust suit
    - Microsoft wants a decent-quality suite of drawing products (Microsoft frequently seems to buy technology and re-work it over and over until it's just right... Mostly)
    - They certainly couldn't want Wordperfect or the WordPerfect suite.. It hasn't been stable since 5.1 (The last WordPerfect Corporation version of WordPerfect).
    - Corel Linux (Debian) is uninteresting to them. Microsoft could have bought or built their own Linux distribution, with full MS Office compatibility if they chose. They didn't chose to.
    - Corel's hardware business is all but defunct -- they couldn't want that.
    - I seem to recall that Corel sold off the Clip-Art division a while ago.

    I tend to think item #1 is the real reason this transaction occured, with #2 a second.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    It doesn't even have to be that sinister.

    Currently Corel ports their windows software and run it on top of WINE. Being strapped for cash they can't afford to add .Net and expand the WINE API. [ No, $135 Million isn't enough to do both, IMHO.]

    The net effect is that Corel drifts away from putting their products on Linux and fades from WINE project. No lawsuit necessary.

    Like the saying goes "money talks".

    You can also look at it as a leverage in case of a break up. In a break it would be in the development/OS groups best interest to have more than one Office suite player in the market.

    Like the Apple deal I think this is a "win/win" sort of investment. Since the stock is extremely depressed , if Corel is sucessful and (no matter what path they take to that success) Microsoft wins.

  • With 24 million non-voting shares, M$ can still tell Corel to "drop Linux and go .NET or else we shall *sell* the shares at a *very* low price", thus causing Corel to totally crash.

    Then they wouldn't really be non-voting shares. It may seem like it, but you can't just do whatever you want with stocks 'n stuff.


  • w/o voting stock, I am sure that non of that could happen...
  • Well, _D_ebian isn't exactly a struggling competitor by any standard. Besides, they have no legal issues to be settled nor proprietary treasures that could be locked away as everything is released as genuine Open Source.

    MS appears to take some 18 months or so between alphabets so we still have a while to identify the next competitor to be staked.

    Hmm, wasn't _E_azel planning an IPO in not-so-distant future?

  • In other news, Microsoft's share price closed today at US$59.12, which is less than 50% of their peak of US$119.93. In other words, the Empire has been cut in half. Employee Option holders should be a little upset about this.

  • And yes, I know that site was a prank. And one that's worthy of checking out; it can't be long until M$ shuts it down...

  • The alternative is letting Corel die, which would be bad for everyone, especially Corel. Besides, this is just Microsoft starting to find there's not nearly as much money to be had in vending within the software market as there is in investing in the software market. They stopped innovating long ago (if they ever started), but they'll reap the rewards just as well. It happened to Apple, and it's happening to Corel, but look how far Apple has gotten (ignoring its nosedive last week).

    An investment by Microsoft does add some legitimacy to a company most were considering to be on its death throes. This is a good move.
  • This provides Microsoft with some influence over what happens next with WP, which has got to be of some value to them.

    The second most important thing about this is that Microsoft gets to control the "bouncing" of Borland Paradox, which appears to be the nearest thing that there is on Linux to a competitor to MS Access.

    There are all sorts of other opportunities for "paranoid delusion," notably that this might diminish the ability of Corel to continue to support WINE efforts as a technology that was independent of Microsoft.

    Which is distressing if you were planning to put your millions of dollars worth of development effort into cloning Win32 software over to Linux via libWINE, but that sounds rather paranoid-delusional. There are probably as many millions going into that as went into cloning Win16 software over to unix via Willows TWIN...

    I think I'll go with "Control over WP's Next Disposition" as the most likely value of this to MSFT...

  • Non-voting shares.. and only 24 million. Not that big a deal really in terms of what Microsoft can do with those shares. The more interesting question is why.
  • Well, Corel's stock is getting a nice price bounce. It closed at 3-11/16 but is now trading at about 7-1/8 in after hours. Can't wait to see what happens when the market opens in the morning.

    Makes me really happy I held on to my Corel shares even when Linux started falling out of favor with the market. Of course, I miss when Corel was up over 30.

  • This is very true. And perhaps more on the business side, Corel has another 24 million dollars to play with, considering the low supply of money.
  • Corel isn't a "large competitor". Corel's products are dead, its current market cap. is $270M - petty cash for Microsoft. Hey, even VA Linux has 8 times that.


  • Hmmm. So if I read correctly, ".NET" is going to allow any language to run anywhere. Presumably through an API. Presumably through a Windows API. Corel has experience hacking the Windows API -- they've had to do it to get their apps to run on Windows, let alone their involvement with WINE.

    And who's desperate enough to do MS's bidding on Windows API hacking? Certainly not the core WINE folk... but Corel is!

  • Who thinks that Corel's new 'strategic partner' in Redmond will let Corel proceed with any kind of effective deployment of Linux on the desktop? This stinks to heaven.

    No, they won't outright cancel it, that would be too obvious. They'll just get a little - defocussed. Yeah. That's it. Defocus them.

    We can kiss Corel goodbye as far as Linux goes, and that's one big victory for the evil empire. OK, who's going to step up to the plate now, with a new distro to go head-to-head with Microsoft? Oh yeah. Sun. OK, Scott, your turn... fire two.
  • by Tull ( 181002 ) <slashdot&ians-net,co,uk> on Monday October 02, 2000 @01:28PM (#737766) Homepage
    We shouldn't need a major share buyout to get interoperatability between major apps. If Microsfot stuck to open standards, or published details of new API's in the first place we wouldn't have a problem.

    The only comfort I draw from this is that they are non-voting shares.
  • Er, no.

    CorelDraw is *the best* vector graphics illustration program on the market. Illustrator notwithstanding.

    Corel Ventura is *the best* long document publishing software available. Framemaker not withstanding.

    Paradox is *the best* desktop-class database available. Access97 isn't even in the running, lousy piece of expletive-deleted.

    Photopaint is *in the top two* bitmap graphics illustration/art/manipulation programs available, despite it's weird interface. Photoshop notwithstanding.

    WordPerfect is *in the top two* word processing/simple page layout programs available. And it does a decent job of SGML/XML. Word2000 notwithstanding.

    Quattro is *in the top two* spreadsheet programs available. Excel notwithstanding.

    Corel has an incredible product line... and an INCREDIBLE inability to market it! Plus, they shoot themselves in the foot every few releases by releasing unusably buggy shite.

    They're *so* close to being great... but *so* damn bad at it!

  • Woops! That should be 24 million shares, $135 million.
  • [apple.com]

    Apologies to BNL,
  • Sorry if my "ahem" came across wrong. (bad confusing day). I was backing up what you had said, I didn't mean to imply something else.
  • Er, no. As a technical writer, I have extensive experience in both products.

    WordPerfect is better. It's easier (but different) to use, and it is *far* easier to accomplish many things in WP: indexing, page layout, cross-referencing.

    But Word is the defacto standard. Not because it is a better product, but because it was better marketed.

    It's now at the point where Word has such dominance that one can't get away from it. It's like white cheddar versus that godawful orange-dyed chedder. It's not impossible to find real cheddar, but it's damn difficult!

  • by 2quam4 ( 207152 ) on Monday October 02, 2000 @01:29PM (#737772)
    Here is a listing provided by Microsoft of Microsoft investments and acquisitions [microsoft.com]. It was last updated on 9/18/00 with the acquistion of Pacific Microsonics.
  • Hmmmmmm.

    Corel Office Suite Java ==> Microsoft Office Suite in C# (C-Sharp).

    It'd work, if they disguise the appearance of the products. They have very similar functionality. The Corel products would need to lose some functions (ie. "Reveal Codes") and gain some bugs (ie. "Losing track of captions and buggering the numbering"), but with a MSOffice toolbar and paper clip "assistant," I'll betcha it'd slip by most people...

  • Anyone care to make a guess as to the stock market implications of this? I see that CORL is up about 100% in after-market trading, and I suspect this will continue tomorrow.

    As someone who picks up stock in "dead stock" companies who still have okay products -- CORL, SGI, etc -- this is a big day for me. Time to start picking out a new ride...


  • Yes, you're exactly right. Microsoft's entire infatuation with XML has been in response to Java. They are trying to get the industry behind something that could get people away from this sick (from Microsoft's perspective) obsession with Java .class files and serialized object streams.

    In true MS fashion, they've identified and are zeroing in on one of the key weakness of Java: it's not standardized. They're putting the primary .NET components (C# and the common language runtime) in the hands of a standards body.

    Yes, except that the most critical need for standardization (in Java and .NET both) are the API's, not the language or the JVM. Microsoft never truly cared about extending the JVM with new bytecodes or adding syntactical sugar to the language, they just wanted to dissipate Sun's ability to define what class libraries software would be written to.

    Microsoft has no intention of standardizing that aspect of .NET any more than they do of standardizing the Win32 API, and all talk about the critical importance of standardization to the developer (and the horrid, horrid prospect of all programmer's being forced to use a single language) on the street is all so much spin to try to cut Sun's legs out from under them on control of API's.

    Which, to be fair, is what Sun is pushing Java against Microsoft for. But let's not pretend that there is something magical about standardization of syntax when the stuff that software is actually built out of (classes) are not being standardized.

  • by Samrobb ( 12731 ) on Monday October 02, 2000 @02:24PM (#737781) Homepage Journal

    No doubt this will get moderated into oblivion...

    .NET is Microsoft's answer to Java. Before dismissing it out of hand, just because it originated from MS, keep this in mind:

    • It definitely has it's roots in Java, depite what MS marketing hype says. MS couldn't extend-and-embrace Java for legal reasons, so they dropped their efforts and created .NET out of the ashes.
    • The most important part of .NET is the CLR (common language runtime). Unlike Java, where the VM is tailored to one language, the CLR is designed to support multiple languages, and to make interoperability between languages much less of a hassle than it is now.
    • As far as I can tell from lurking on the .NET mailing list, MS has been very responsive to feedback from beta testers. It looks like the .NET team has made a commitment to delivering something developers want, not something marketing thinks they can sell.
    • In true MS fashion, they've identified and are zeroing in on one of the key weakness of Java: it's not standardized. They're putting the primary .NET components (C# and the common language runtime) in the hands of a standards body.

    All in all, it sounds like this is MS hedging their bets. Having a version of the .NET runtime available for *nix would mean that MS could start trying to lure shops using Java into the MS fold. If C#/.NET become formally standardized, given the number of open source developers out there, someone, somewhere, will do the hard work for them and make their environment available elsewhere (and everywhere...)

    Meanwhile, while no *nix developer would think about corrupting their precious kernel to make .NET run any faster, MS has no such qualms. They will probably be tweaking Win2002 to get every last drop of performance from .NET, so they can point at Linux - and the open source supported versions of .NET - and say "See, you can even run your .NET solutions on these low-end systems; and when you're ready to step up to the big time, you can just move your apps over to a real enterprise OS..."

  • True enough. Heck, Microsoft brought us D0S, how could anyone possibly ever threaten such a l337 company?

  • Corel promised to support Microsoft's ".NET", whatever it really is. I have no idea how, and what will Corel do with its Linux software -- ".NET" is supposed to be tied to Windows.
  • I'm surprised not to find any mention of the fact that M$ killed off WordPerfect by bundling Word (a proprietary and arguably inferior product,) and is once again in jeopardy of having evidently engaged in successful anti-competitive behavior.

    If Corel dies, M$ find itself in deeper water with the anti-trust case back on again. If they don't play nice, like invest big in Corel, there'll be a courtroom full of Ottawans who will gladly make the trek to heckle the M$ lawyers.

    Remember how Word '97 couldn't read some files from earlier Word versions? If you wanted to read '97 files you had to update. Whether you wanted to or not or needed to or not.

    This coming on the heels of having to update to the previous version of Word, not bcause you wanted to but because they were bundling enough copies with big enough clients that you ended up needing to switch because you couldn't read the files.

    If I tried M$s sales tactics, I'd be in jail. And deservedly so.
  • by cxreg ( 44671 ) on Monday October 02, 2000 @01:15PM (#737792) Homepage Journal
    Doesn't this mean that Microsoft is now paying other people to reverse engineer its own API? What a bizarre world we live in...
  • Fawking Slashdot!

    I meant to say...

    ... [apple.com]

    Hey taco, the submission page is broken.

  • Jesus, I fucking give up. Just go here: http://product.info.apple.com/pr/press.releases/19 97/q4/970806.pr.rel.microsoft.html

  • Do I see a pattern here? MS beats competition (_A_pple, _B_orland _C_orel etc.) to the ground before grabbing a stake in them, "settling legal issues" and leaving them on lifesupport so that everything looks fine and dandy to the gov't watchdogs. Was Corel's Office for Linux a real threat to MS, and what will become of Corel's Linux initiatives after this?

    IIRC some state attorney-generals were planning (in '97, '98?) to sue MS for using the Windows monopoly to kill competitors to MS-Office, but that suit was put on a backburner when the DOJ managed to pull the AGs together for the browser/anti-trust case instead. Perhaps Corel didn't have the money to pursue that suit and settled for MS Airsupply instead. How sad, how MS.

    Anyway, now I almost hope that Corel the MS-subsidiary would get out of the Linux space and leave the arena to companies and communities not owned by Microsoft.

  • by leereyno ( 32197 ) on Monday October 02, 2000 @09:42PM (#737801) Homepage Journal
    The anti-trust case against them has nothing to do with whether there IS competition to Microsoft's products. It has to do with whether their business practices hindered competition and whether they used their monopoly status in one area, operating systems, to create a monopoly in another area, Browsers etc. IANAL and I'm far from being an expert in anti-trust law, but I do know that the issue has never been whether there IS competition, only whether they had hindered competition.

    Lee Reynolds
  • by ahg ( 134088 ) on Monday October 02, 2000 @09:48PM (#737802)
    MS needs competition on the .NET platform too. Without some competition their DoJ situation as well as public acceptance of .NET is at increased risk. Corel simply makes the next most competitive Office suite on Windows and MS needs it to be on .NET too.

    IMHO, it has _nothing_ to do with Linux. (doesn't everything posted on /. have to have something to do with Linux? :)

    Okay, seriously, in order for MS to sell .NET as a serious alternative to locally installed apps they also need stuff like a half decent drawing and painting programs. MS's own attempts at such programs haven't exactly been well received (understatement) - so who do they turn to?

    Adobe? not a chance, it'll be a lond time before their heavy duty apps are .NETed.

    Corel's got the goods. Half decent programs marketed at consumers and seriously in need for some cash infusion and positive PR.

    It was probably a no-brainer on both sides.

    Does anyone else think that Corel may be rethinking their Linux committment anyway? -- Their distro, rejected by core Linux users, and the OS on the whole still not ready for Mom & Pop systems - has left them with a costly investment that isn't showing any signs of making money in the near future.

    Perhaps Eazl/Helix will have more success as the OS will have had more time to mature and begin to approach some semblence of (consumer-level)hardware compatability parity with Win9x by the time they debut their consumer oriented offerings. (usb, ieee1394, "soft" printers, DVD...)
  • They would have encouraged Cowpland to stay on as CEO and just let the company lay like a floundering tuna.

    I doubt Microsoft cares too much about WordPerfect, it hasn't been a very popular product since before Windows.

    Honestly, I don't see what Microsoft see's in Corel. Why would you bail out a company you intended to crush when they were doing such a good job at imploding by themselves?

    The only thing I see is the CorelDraw and other creative apps.
  • They're just trying to prop-up a competitior when they seem likely to fall, so they don't seem like a monopoly. It's the exact same thing they did with Apple when they were in a similar bind.

  • With 24 million non-voting shares, M$ can still tell Corel to "drop Linux and go .NET or else we shall *sell* the shares at a *very* low price", thus causing Corel to totally crash.

    Considering Corel hasn't been doing too well, financially speaking, for quite a while I wouldn't be too surprised is M$ was using this kind of tactics to crush a potential competitor in the OS+office apps market.

    Call me paranoid, but it sounds "logical" to me. M$ can't do anything else because they have their tentacles tied with a nice antitrust procecution, but they have plenty of money to lose for such games.

    I mean, Corel is the only software company that offers a full package without anything from M$, and still have a pretty good reputation when it comes to office apps (much better than StarOffice). And people (the administrative kind) who only use their PCs for word processing, speadsheet and net stuff basically don't give a rat's ass regarding the OS it's running on, since most of them don't know what it is.

    What do you guys think?

  • This just in:
    San Jose, CA (ICU) 49% of non-voting shares in my personal debt have just been bought by Microsoft. As they could sell off those shares at any given moment if they are displease and I lose value or must immediately pay off my debt, I have nothing to say, except that they are the nicest people in the whole world!

    Chief Frog Inspector
  • I just realized something. Corel had a Java version of their office suite out there years ago. PCs were too slow and the Java VMs were still crude but now you should be able to get acceptable performance out of a web browser.

    M$ is doing it again. Buying out (or helping out and getting cross licences from the guy with the Vaseline on his butt,) an old competitor for their other IP and turning around and calling it their own invention.

    Same crap they've pulled since QDOS.
  • CorelDraw is *the best* vector graphics illustration program on the market. Illustrator notwithstanding.

    Perhaps so, but I've been somewhat disappointed with CorelDRAW 9 for Linux. Compared to CorelDRAW 3 (the only other version I've used extensively), it's far more fully featured, but the user interface is awful. It now takes several times longer to accomplish the same tasks. I guess the Windows version has the same flaws, though. Overall performance is OK, but not great, probably due to rushing it to market rather than getting WINE working right, and there are still niggling little bugs. As you say, they're so close, but just keep getting it wrong.

  • by JohnZed ( 20191 ) on Monday October 02, 2000 @02:37PM (#737843)
    This is a VERY similar deal to the one MS cut with Borland/Inprise about a year and a half ago. Borland's legal claims were actually pretty strong (especially for unfair hiring practices: MS crippled whole teams by throwing multimillion-dollar offers at dozens of key developers), but Microsoft also took a fairly large (10%) stake in Inprise. This was the huge boost in that company's bankroll that enabled them to get back on their feet and become the competitive company that they are today. The deal included all the same "Borland agrees to support MS's API of the hour" stuff as well. Note that Borland started the Kylix project (Linux port of Delphi and C++Builder) only AFTER receiving this Microsoft infusion, so I think the conspiracy theorists should just relax. There are, however, much more compelling antitrust reasons for this deal. If WordPerfect Office completely disappeared (which was pretty unlikely, but not 100% impossible), there would be a whole new line of antitrust inquiries against future versions of Office. Their move to a subscription model could be seen as classic monopolistic behavior (now that they're locked in, we won't even have to come up with upgrades anymore). The real threat to Corel's Linux strategy is the fact that they're not making a lot of money from it (Corel Draw for Linux, anyone?). --JRZ
  • For some reason, slashdot is mangling the end bracket when posting, even though it looks fine in preview mode; it's converting it to an ampersand-lt type thingy. This is the second time it's happened to me. (Yes, I have plain old text selected.) Most annoying, especially when you're trying to make a point...

    Then again, real programmers use cat, right? Real posters should too.

  • I sincerely hope this does not spell doom for WordPerfect, because it is a dramatically superior product to Word, at least for those willing to learn a few ropes.

    If this were the case, why does MS have such a vastly greater marketshare than WordPerfect. This isn't the same Windows monopoly: people are actually going to purchase Office over WordPerfect.

    As an example, I had a brief parttime job at a computer store over one summer. WordPerfect and Office came out with new editions at roughly the same time. I saw people completely walk past the huge ad display set up for WordPerfect (which sat in the middle of the aisle) and walk straight to Office. They didn't have to buy Word. They wanted to.

    The point is, most people don't find WordPerfect better than Word. The people who do normally have been using it for years and have it stuck in their organizations (I find IT divisions have a real hard time removing WordPerfect completely from their company networks. The program and things like Netware gradually get intertwined). Most others, however, find Word superior.

  • by Samrobb ( 12731 ) on Monday October 02, 2000 @02:39PM (#737847) Homepage Journal
    I am suspcious about .NET, because it looks like another way to make proprietary MS technologies defacto standards
    Yes, this is the standard MS way. As I pointed out elsewhere, though, one of the real business weaknesses of Java is the fact that Sun has refused to submit it to a standards body. Proving that they will do the right thing, if only for the wrong reasons (to kill Java), MS is planning on handing C# and the .NET CLR over to the EMCA. You might be interested in reading The Microsoft.NET Strategy: Risky, Brilliant, or Both? [ddj.com] in Dr. Dobbs:
    Now here comes the real shine in .NET. When repeatedly asked what prevents C# and CLR being ported to any operating system (say Unix or Linux), often with wry smiles Microsoft officials, often with wry smiles, said "nothing." This means the .NET Framework of C# and CLR makes Microsoft software not only highly interoperable but also portable. So if Linux takes off, Microsoft software will be there. If some .NET appliance software/hardware combination skyrockets -- Microsoft software can quickly move there. And if the DOJ splits up Microsoft, C# and some portions of CLR are already pledged to be standardized through the European organization, ECMA.
  • There's a more informative article from CNET I found off the Yahoo Finance page on Corel:

    http://yahoo. cne t.com/news/0-1003-200-2917375.html?pt.yfin.cat_fin .txt.ne [cnet.com]

    Some choice snippets from the article:

    "In turn, the two companies will work together on developing and testing products for Microsoft's .Net effort, which lets customers "rent" software over the Internet. Microsoft.Net will also encompass cell phones and handhelds computers."

    Rather unsettling, eh?

    "The two companies have also agreed to settle unspecified legal issues between them."

    Anybody happen to have an idea on just which legal issues they might be referring to?

    ""They didn't want Apple to go away as a major competitor and they probably don't want Corel to go away right away, especially when things are on appeal," Enderle said. The deal may also give Microsoft access to in-house technology at Corel, including some Linux technology."

    MS Linux? ::shivers::

  • Microsoft has never tried to use their investment with Apple as leverage, and they won't with Corel, either. It's not the threat (we now own 1/4 of your company!) it's the carrot. "Play well with us, and we'll give you more money, outright, than most companies make in a year." And if they'll give their mortal enemies that much cash, think of what they'll do for their friends....
  • "(In order to use .NET you have to run Win2K servers)"

    Bzzzzt! Wrong answer.

    But we have some lovely parting gifts for you at the receptionists desk.

    .Net is many things, but one major aspect of it is cross-platform interoperability through SOAP and other mechanisms.

    It really amazes me the number of people who are so blinded by their hatred for Microsoft that they are unwilling or rather unable to admit when the company has a really good idea.

  • Not investing money in the company would be a much easier way to kill off applications.

    I'm not a big fan of conspiracy theories that make no sense, much less conspiracy theories in general.
  • 1) This is about 1/4 of corels' outstanding shares.
    2) This is NON-VOTING. They have *NO* say in what corel does, period.
    3) It IS a good investment. Corel stock is low; linux might be big; and microsoft IS a business.
    4) Competition, or perceived competition, is GOOD for Microsoft.

    What's wrong with making an investment? This is non-voting stock; purely an investment> That's all it CAN be.
  • These are 'prefferred' shares, right?
    Are they not convertible to 'common' shares, under certain terms? Perhaps those terms hinge on performance of corel?
  • Very interesting question - especially since they own a significant number of non-voting Apple shares, as well.

    Microsoft must simply see a benefit in keeping alive the appearance of competition for anti-trust reasons. "Oh, we're the benevolent ones who try to help everyone out when they're down"

    At under $9B market cap, I'd prefer to see Larry Ellison buy Apple with his pocket change and see what might happen.

    I can see Larry now... "OK, you artsy-fartsy pansy asses... we're going to make this crap into a rip-roarin' e-business platform driving the Internet. iMac? Expensive NC. Let's rip out the storage, use a G4 Cube as your app server running Oracle 9i, and get you some productivity. Enough with the Picasso shit. No more of this Gandhi on ads. I want to have ads with you pot-smokers sitting on the mounds of cash you can make when we straighten you all out."

  • by Auckerman ( 223266 ) on Monday October 02, 2000 @01:45PM (#737864)
    Jan 98. Steve Jobs is about to step on stage and announce a slew of new products, including OS X. During his speech, Bill Gates himself is invited on the stage to annouce that MS is investing in $250 million in Apple (non-voting stock) and the MS was releasing Office 98 for the Mac (which still has features Office 2000 doesn't have).

    What did MS get out of this? IE on Mac desktops everywhere and MORE importantly the validation of Apple Inc in the eyes of consumers. This meant that Apple could continue to offer it's products in the same exact stores as MS does. MS makes IE standard (which it is even on Macs), and maintains the view that MS is not alone.

    Move forward to Oct 00. MS invests in Corel. Why? Easy, MS NEEDS Linux and more speficially, Corel, which makes an Office suit which it BUNDLES with a Linux, to continue to exist. If Corel die and it's Office Suite divested, it adds to the arguement that MS needs to be broken up. If Corel thives and lives in the consumer space, just as Apple has, MS can point to them and say, "Hey, they bundle Office, and a share of the desktop space...".

    MS investment in Apple justified Apple in the consumer world at a time when they were down. MS investment in Corel will do the same.

    They can't let Corel die. It's makes bad business sense.

  • You're not the real Bruce Perens.
    You're one of the real Bruce Perens.

    Yeah, and that implicit cast from the integer Bruce Perens makes me kind of uncomfortable, too.

    real BrucePerens = 3872;

    Bingo Foo


  • @ http://www.vcnet.com/bms/ [vcnet.com]

    They have a list of MS' spending spree over the years. (look under 'departments')

  • Corel, GPL WordPerfect now.

  • It's gonna happen, i'm scared. MSlinux.org [mslinux.org]

    Oh goody. Finally a distribution of Linux that's pre-destined to be more pissed on than Red Hat.

    It's good not to run the underdog anymore.

  • You can't do this in the way that you describe:

    First, this would be a massive SEC violation. When you own 100 shares you can do a lot of things you can't do when you own 24 million (which is over 5%) Here's a chart [yahoo.com]

    Second, Microsoft may have a lot of money, but they don't just throw away $135 million dollars without raising some eyebrows in the DOJ/SEC/etc.

    Third, investments this large are normally done with limits on sales. The Apple shares that MS bought years ago was with a lock for 3 years (IIRC) when they converted into voting shares. Though I see no details in the news articles to this end, I'm sure they're in there.

  • My take is that this is potenially very good, and also potentially bad, but most likely good.

    Why does MS want to invest in Corel?

    1. To prop up its .NET initiative (as stated).
    2. To keep a competitor in business, to blunt the monopoly charges.
    3. To make money, since Corel shares are likely to go up.

    I am suspcious about .NET, because it looks like another way to make proprietary MS technologies
    defacto standards, with which they can leverage Win2000 deployment, and shut out competitors in the server space. (In order to use .NET you have to run Win2K servers). On the other hand, there just may be a possibity that MS will actually play fair and open up .NET (not too likely). Probably the best we can hope for is that MS will be only partially successfull, and .NET will be one of several choices for application servers.

    I wonder what else Corel is getting out of this. Could it be that MS will be more forthcomming in
    providing information about Windows APIs so Corel apps will be able to run better on Windows?
    Perhaps even, they will allow Corel to migrate some technologies to Linux (I'm a dreamer!). One of the reasons why WPO2000 is not feature-complete on Linux (in my limited understanding) is because
    MS will not allow certain DLLs to be shipped with programs that run on Wine.

    Only time will tell. This is interesting though!

    John Craig
  • If MS is broken up, I am willing to bet that the
    Corel shares will go to the OS part of MS. That
    way they will might still be able to exert
    a great deal of influence on the Office Suite
    market. With Corel's puny market share in the Office App market, it might look like a
    minor investment now. But I think it would be very good for M$ in the post break up years.

    Then we could have two competing Office Suites
    with significant developer strength. Office and
    MS - Corel Wordperfect Suite.
  • As much as I stand for the flaming of Microsoft, supposedly, the Word format IS supposedly available on their web site. But I've heard it's documented lamely enough as to be completely unusable, but I guess this is how the Star Office people got the information they needed to implement it.

    Soylent Green is people!
  • by zpengo ( 99887 ) on Monday October 02, 2000 @01:47PM (#737887) Homepage
    WordPerfect.NET -- Now *there's* a scary idea....

  • Presidential debates?

    I hope they do some fucking drug-testing there!

    Soylent Green is people!
  • by Speare ( 84249 ) on Monday October 02, 2000 @02:00PM (#737895) Homepage Journal

    If they want "Windows everywhere," and they will get called upon to support desktop applications on WINE, they could want to ensure that WINE is in fact able to run.

    This is embrace, extend and extinguish: if Office 2002 runs out-of-the-box on Linux+WINE, trouble free, and your company has sold its soul to Office subscriptions anyway, why fight the headaches of StarOffice or other half-compatible solutions?

  • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) <bruce@perens.com> on Monday October 02, 2000 @01:16PM (#737907) Homepage Journal
    MS now owns considerable stock, albeit non-voting, in a company that vends Debian commercially. For some reason I find that amusing.


  • Apple got more than just the $150 million stock investment from Microsoft, they also got an "undisclosed sum" to go with it. The whole thing was part of a settlement over patent disputes between MS and Apple that had been going on for years. Some people have estimated that the "undisclosed sum" was just huge, perhaps as high as $1 billion or more. Bob Cringely wrote a column speculating about that when the whole deal went down two years ago. I would provide a link here, but it was so long ago that it doesn't even show up in his "old hat" archives.

    The Corel deal sounds different. Unlike the Apple deal, there were no ongoing patent disputes and no "undisclosed sum". MS just threw a low 9-figure wad of cash (chump change to them) at Corel to help keep them alive, probably so that they will be able to point to them later and say, "See, we have competitors! We're not a monopoly!"

  • Ah well, I guess it's good for both companies anyways.

    The money is urgently needed by cash-poor Corel, and this little amount (to M$, of course) can keep a dying competitor on a life-support, just a way to avoid being beaten up by the Justice Dept.

  • this link [corel.com] returns:

    "Your browser sent a message this server could not understand."

    Yup, microsoft is in da house.
  • This aughta be +5... note why Microsoft has plans to port a lot of its apps to Mac (mostly games, +office too), and why IE is available on Solaris: Microsoft likes to pay off competitors with legal itches by providing products on their platform and investing in them instead of facing the much, much more unpredictable courts. Expect to see IE on Linux soon. Very soon. And bundled with Corel Linux.
  • MS's investment in Apple was $150 Million, non-voting shares
    Apple didn't "drop" Netscape; it is still present to this day on MacOS 9.0.4 install CD's, and will be installed automatically by the default installer script. IE is chosen as the default HTTP handler, and that can be easily switched by changing your Internet preferences.
    Hell, you can simply not install IE in the first place if you don't want it.

    Once again, when it comes to *actual* information about what Apple does, the Slashdot crowd just simply doesn't know: and the average person doesn't know either.


    Freedom is Slavery! Ignorance is Strength! Monopolies offer Choice!
  • Hmmm,

    Maybe killing all present and future Corel's Linux port of applications? Remember corel draw 10? Bryce?

    say bye bye...

    ofcourse, with the official claim: "not much demand"...

    Mark my words
  • My dear NAIVE friend...

    Yes, MS is business, but it's politics also...

    Want Example? sure..

    According to IDC, Linux got more workstation installations than the Mac (and I'm talking about SOLD Linux distribution copies - NOT the one you downloaded few days ago) - so in reality - Linux workstation installation is at least (being conservative here) twice then Mac..

    Yet, MS doesn't port their Office to Linux. We all know that Linux can run Linux port of office quite nicely, and that more and more people install Linux - yet MS claims there is no demand, which is a lie ofcourse...

    So, if MS was business only, then we could have a port of MS Office a year ago..
  • They didn't have any control over the course Apple was and is taking, yet Steve Jobs WAS thankful enough to make IE the default browser on the Mac, AND state publicly that it was the BEST browser choice available.

    (thank goodness we now have OmniWeb!)

    Soylent Green is people!
  • The key line in Corel's Press Release [corel.com] was: ... In addition, both companies have agreed to settle certain legal issues between Corel and Microsoft.

    Many people have wondered why Corel did not sue MS for damages after MS was convicted of being a monopoly. Some of the states had originally wanted to make MS Office the focus of the anti-trust suit. MS did the similar deal with Inprise a few years ago. If Corel is dropping any threat of law suits now then MS is getting off lucky. On the other hand, Corel does not have the resources to spend millions in court and needs the money now not years from now.

  • This purchase gives MS a cornerstone into making Office for Linux. You have a competitor who has ported most of their libraries over to Linux in WordPerfect, and try as you might, the two products are virtually identical. Converting the widgets and dialog boxes from WordPerfect to Word would be a synch.

    The idea is to take their libraries, bend them to fix the MS Office motif and publish a single word processor. They don't have voting rights now, but they will have them soon, I can guarantee it.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    .Net is software which will run anywhere, at anytime, from any device. This sounds like Microsoft is trying to pawn off responsibility for presentation of .Net software on non-IE browsers to someone else. Lucky Corel gets to do that. LAME!
  • Quark? For long document publishing? You're a loony.

    Ventura is for publishing long documents: fifty to five thousand pages of content, in book format.

    Quark is for laying out advertisements, brochures and other piddly documents. It simply doesn't support the functions needed to publish long, complicated documents. Not with any grace or ease, at any rate.

    I think you'll find this link enlightening: [Comparison of Ventura, Framemaker, Pagemaker and Quark] [coreluser.com]. Though there's every chance that, having always done things the hard way, you won't realize that features like paragraph numbering, footnotes and page imposition are essential when creating long technical documents.

    As for your assertion that Freehand and Illustrator are "first choice" products -- you're right: in the same way that Windows9x is the "first choice" in operating systems.

    But that doesn't make them the *best*.

    In terms of sheer functionality, the Corel products I listed are best-of-class or in the top two or three.

    You can run with the crowd. That's apparently what you've chosen to do. You don't have to think... but you'll have to work harder, and you won't be able to do live up to your potential best.

    Or you can use the best products to create the best work, with less work. You'll have to take the time to identify what software has the most functionality, and you'll have to go against the crowd. But at least you'll be able to be the best.

  • .NET will be Coming to a Linux Distribution near you.

    Time to start studying SOAP!

  • The JVM runs TONS of languages way more [tu-berlin.de]then CLR probably ever will. The JVM runs on just about any OS you can imagine the CLR only runs on one. Why would you give up support for hundreds of languages and cross platform freedom just to lock yourself into the windows platform and a couple of languages. CLR and .NYET are all tradoff and no gain.

    A Dick and a Bush .. You know somebody's gonna get screwed.

  • Ahhhhh! My favorite word processor doomed by MS to suck worse than Word then die. Get your copies of Word Perfect 8, and your liscence before this Linux native word processor starts to cost you more than Word.

    Noooo! Noooo! It's just too sad, I'll be forced to VI and ispell, Latex and I don't know what. Man the GNOME word processor source, batten the hatches, the Borg has landed.

  • Non voting my ass is corel going to just up and ignore a company who owns 1/4th of it. Give me a break!

    A Dick and a Bush .. You know somebody's gonna get screwed.

  • ...that soon after Cowpland left, something like this would happen. I used to respect Corel for being brave (or is that dumb?) enough to try to take on MS in the Office app market, and folks like Adobe in the graphics market. They had (or have?) a really good product core in the Corel Draw line, but I think the battle on the Office package front, plus diluting the company even more with unfocused forays in linux weakened what was Canada's greatest software giant into the MS fodder it has become today. Sad news.

    Going on means going far
  • Remember how Word '97 couldn't read some files from earlier Word versions? If you wanted to read '97 files you had to update. Whether you wanted to or not or needed to or not.

    I certainly do not remember this because what you state is FALSE

    Word 97 was perfectly capable of reading earlier versions of Word files. Earlier versions of Word could not necessarily read Word 97 files, that is what happens when file formats are upgraded. Other software programs have done this. This was documented and announced when Office 97 came out.

    The complaint was this, that when you were working with Word 97 and choose to save as a Word 95, it did not save it in true .doc format (binary compatible). Instead, the output was a Rich Text Format, which is not as "robust" as 95 format (ie 6.0). Microsoft goofed, admitted it, and released a binary level converter that would save as true Word 95 docs.

    Also, Microsoft released a free Word 97 viewer so users of earlier version could view and print. Also, they released an add-on to Word 95 so that owners could open Word 97 docs and modify them, even if formatting features of the new version were lost if there was not a compatible feature in the 95 version.

    More than fair for them to release these freebies. The stink was that they did not inform the user that the Save As command in 97 was RTF.

    Get your facts straight. People always complain about the lies MS or others say about Linux and Open Source/Free Software, well make sure you don't spread lies about MS as well. Damn them for what they do, not what you have a vague rememberance of what they might have done. And telling someone who sends you a file, you cannot read it in the format sent is VALID to do. Linux users say it all the time. If they want to communicate to you, they will.

  • Anyone ever play the seven degrees of Kevin Bacon? There should be a n degrees of Microsoft, 2 or 3 would probably be realistic.
  • by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Monday October 02, 2000 @02:08PM (#737964) Homepage Journal
    It might be amusing, but it's a very old joke. MS has quite a few investments like this. For example, Microsoft's stake in Inprise/Borland is helping finance Kylix -- which is being marketed as "VB for Linux." What many of these investments have in common is that they're in companies that have settled lawsuits with MS. It's an open secret that these stakes are part of the settlement -- by making it capital instead of a cash payment, MS gets a tax break.

    I don't know offhand if there's any Corel-MS litigation recently. But it wouldn't be suprising if the new Corel management used MS's current troubles to extract a little greenmail. After all, they own WordPerfect, Paradox, and Quatro Pro -- all products which MS succeeded in burying, whether by fair means or foul. If this is true, neither company will ever, ever admit it.


  • by dskoll ( 99328 ) on Monday October 02, 2000 @03:16PM (#737965) Homepage
    I see something much more sinister for the WINE project that Microsoft simply killing off Corel's involvement in WINE.

    Microsoft signs a special deal so Corel gets access to Windows source code "to help build .NET." M$ sits still for six months. M$ then sues the WINE project, claiming that some of Corel's contributions are covered under NDA. Of course, M$ won't have a leg to stand on, but its ability to draw out court cases will kill off WINE.

    I believe the WINE leaders should thank Corel profusely for their contributions in the past -- and immediately cease to accept any further contributions from Corel.

  • Doesn't this mean that Microsoft is now paying other people to reverse engineer its own API? What a bizarre world we live in...

    Well, that nonsense is over. So are Corel's commercial Linux apps.

    Microsoft doesn't like competition, and Corel is about the only company doing commercial apps that run on Linux.

    This is Microsoft's strategy to keep Linux off the desktop.


  • The following just appeared on the .NET mailing list from Peter Drayton:

    The notes from last week's meeting of ECMA TC39 group were just published. In it there was a discussion of C# and the CLI (is this a new acronym for the CLR?) that contained some very interesting snippets of information. Apparently Microsoft (along with HP, Intel & Fujitsu) is intending to submit C# & the CLI to ECMA for standardization in November. Other interesting points:

    1. Tony (last name not give - was it maybe Goodhew?) said Microsoft has 2 implementations of C# & CLI internally, and that they are working on an open source implementation.

    2. Tony also said that the CLI was available on non-WinTel platforms, but Microsoft couldn't comment on this at this time.

    Here's the link: http://www2.hursley.ibm.com/t c39 /mins-28sep00.html [ibm.com]

  • The name of the company is ZINMAL. What is ZINMAL? ZINMAL Is Not Microsoft's Answer to Linux. Zinmal will take all the software that Corel has released under the GPL, repackage it under the Zinmal label, and continue to develope it independantly of Corel. All the Slashdot types who care about the GPL will buy Zinmal distributions and refuse to have anything to do with Corel. Corel's proprietary products will be treated with the same disdain as Microsoft's proprietary products. People who work at Corel will flee to come work for the new startup, and Zinmal will eventually be purchased either by VA Linux (LNUX) or RedHat (RHAT).

    This is one stupid purchase. MSFT needs to wake up and realize that Linux can't be bought, and that profitability in the software market is shrinking long term due to the presence of Free Software. Concentrate on the hardware, dum-dums. You can't pirate hardware as easily as you can pirate software.

    NOTICE to those who read both Yahoo! stock message boards and Slashdot: istartedi==smm7epub

  • Suppose that MS were working on a office for linux port... where else would you go for people experienced with office suites for linux? Corel, of course...
  • by AFCArchvile ( 221494 ) on Monday October 02, 2000 @01:22PM (#737978)
    I mean, think about the benefits that it will spawn. Better D3D support in Bryce and Poser. Secret optimizations for Draw. Full .DOC compatibility for WordPerfect.

    It's time to start thinking outside the Linux box.

  • I don't think this will have any effect at all on Linux. If you read the story, it appears that Microsoft won't actually have any control over the company's strategies. In fact, this seems to be similar to when they bought a good chunk of Apple a few years ago. They essentially don't have any control over the course Apple was and is taking. I think they're just a big shareholder.

Life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. - Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan