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Corel trades NetWinder division for stake in HCC 85

Norm writes "Corel has agreed to transfer ownership of Corel Computer NetWinder to Hardware Canada Computer (HCC) for a 25% stake in their company. The article is here. Does anyone know anything about HCC? I hope this is good news. Maybe they can make the Netwinders cheaper. " Update: 01/21 03:03 by S : This open letter to participants clarifies that is not part of the transaction.
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Corel trades NetWinder division for stake in HCC

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  • Because:
    * A 233MHz StrongARM processor is much faster than a 233MHz Cyrix or AMD.
    * A Netwinder is smaller and lighter than anything the Intel world has to offer
    * A Netwinder runs on less juice than anything the Intel world has to offer
    * If you're running company can buy a sixpack of Netwinders for a department, and deploy and manage them with no headaches. In business, most headaches cost more than a few hundred bucks.
    * The more people who buy them, the more will be made, the more that are made, the cheaper they will be.
  • Corel has backed out of having to pay attention to a hardware platform that was outside of their core competency. They are still connected with that platform, but they don't have to think about it anymore.

    Corel has had a serious commitment to Unix since they purchased WordPerfect (which has had a Unix version since at least version 4) from Novell. Their commitment has gotten stronger with their announcement last year promising Linux support for all of their software lines.

    Corel has already followed through on their first two promises, producing an excellent version of WordPerfect 8 (and pricing it lower than originally promised), and starting their contributions to the Wine project. I think Corel Office and Corel Draw under winelib will come soon (under budget but behind schedule). I see no indication that they are slacking on any of their promises, much less backing out.
  • by Gleef ( 86 )
    Anonymous Coward wrote:

    damn, we've got this incredible pile of trade-rag garbage in the office, and that's probably the only publication on earth with either "info" or "world" in the name that we don't have . . . :(

    If you don't mind filling out a long form, and killing lots of trees (it's a large format weekly magazine), you can subscribe for free. Here! []
  • focusing itself on software and not trying to do both software and hardware. 25% is a large enough investment to encourage the company to continued to deliver software for the Netwinder. I see this as a good thing assuming HCC is a half-way decent company. Just my guess.
  • It means that serious manufacturing and support of the Netwinder can begin, now that a company whose business it is to do these things specifically is behind the Netwinder.

    Corel seems to me to have completed the *development* of it, and handing it over to another company for broadscale manufacture and marketing seems like a very wise bit of business sense.

  • >Maybe they can make the Netwinders cheaper.

    Mabye they can put more than 2MB VRAM in these machines and start selling them in Europe.
  • Back in the early '90s, they were the top SGI sales company in the National Capital Region...that is, Canada's National Capital.

    ...Still would love to have a Crimsion Reality Engine at home...

  • by gavinhall ( 33 )
    Posted by Gromek:

    Doesn't this just beat all... at least we can hope for better support, faster developements times and a RedHat release sometime soon. I'd certainly hate to see some company take the NetWinder down...

    Hope Corel knows what they are doing...
  • The NetWinders are cute, but expensive for general use. Maybe HCC can develop a market for them. If HCC is really doing that well, they can push them on their own customers at least.

    In the meantime, assuming Corel keeps the Linux ports going, you can bet that they'll support the entire Linux community and not just their own boxes. With all the momentum behind Linux now, they'd be foolish to give up. This is the year when they might see some real return on their Linux investment.

    ... Ami.
  • Corel just announced quarterly profits of .10 a share. If they make some money through HCC, it could look even better next quarter.
  • In the current dead-tree issue of InfoWorld, there is a full-page for the Netwinder. Looks good.

  • It's about time they dumped that thing. Microsoft did the same thing with Softimage but Softimage remained viable with Avid while HCC isn't exactly going to go global with Netwinders.
  • Lets face it the major hardware thing that Corel had was Linux based. So if HCC wanted it it meens that they wanted to buy into Linux. In specific this may be good or not, but in general it is good. It means that people are putting more faith in Linux from a point of view of buying companies etc.
    --Zachary Kessin
  • I think I remember from the netwinder development list that you can put either 2 or 8 megs of VRAM on the thing (but not 4).
  • oh no. not again. There really is more to the world than just x86.

    The Netwinder is SMALL.
    The Netwinder uses VERY LITTLE ELECTRICY.
    The Netwinder has TWO ETHERNET PORTS.

    It fits in my tiny home office.
    It saves me money on my power bill.
    It makes a perfect gateway for my home network to my cable modem.

    By the way, contrary to others post, the Netwinder uses:

    7 watts average
    15 watts maximum

  • At 6:10 PM there was a teleforum with the heads of Corel and HCC. It wasn't that interesting but here's a few facts that I hadn't heard before:

    Corel has sunk about five million Canadian dollars into the Netwinder.

    There are 63 employees at Corel Computer. It hasn't been decided what will happen to them but the Corel CEO said that there is already 200 openings in the rest of Corel so nobody should worry.

    Corel sold about half a million Canadian dollars worth of Netwinders last quarter with sales accelerating rapidly.

    The release of the LC will probably be delayed by a month as a result of this deal.

    That's all I can remember right now.
  • I agree Corel not beeing a software company, therefore it makes sense to spin of hardware division. On the other hand we should pay some attention, cause nobody realy seems to now wo HCC realy is.
    So far I consider this a good news.
  • I will say this only once.

    Corel is NOT stupid. So here is how I translate this move.

    1 : Corel is weakened and hurt. Simply put they are bleeding so badly they can't shove the netwinder into the sub $500 category as much as they would like to.

    2 : HCC is a fast growing and strong STARTUP.

    3 : The best time to own stock in a such a company is in the minutes before it makes it's IPO.

    4 : Linux is the biggest buzz of 1998 and it looks to be bigger in 1999. How big ? Think Internet in 1997.

    This combination of factors suggests that if HCC goes public in the summer with the Netwinder as it's flagship product and Tox on all it's adds the stock will fly into the stratosphere.

    Look at how companies that are LOOSING money make out at IPO time when they are all the rage. This is a profitable company with a strong product line and all the buzz you could want. End result. That 25% stake will make Corel shareholders rich again within 2:27:34 after it goes public.

    HCC on the other hand will ride the wave and crank out Netwinder for $499 and under and introduce a notebook line ( 30hour battery life is not impossible ) to make us all happy.

    End result ? Even RMS. would call this a good thing(R). ( He owns that trademark )
  • I've been dealing with them for years! They're right down the road from Cisco here in Ottawa. They sell Sun clones, Sun's, HPs, SGI's too I think, as well as all manner of hardware. They also have a growing relationship with Network Appliance (
  • I really hope it flies, but I'm worried what
    loosing the Corel brandname might do to the
    NetWinder and how HCC is going to cooperate
    with our community.
  • I agree. This might be bad news if Corel was REALLY doing poorly - they're not - so this can only means they're letting the kid grow up.

    Corel holding onto netWinder would not be best for the platform. Everyone associates Corel with Draw! and cheezy shovelware they used to toss at us.

    The negative and divisive AC postings are probably the usual culprits at Mickeysoft (no wonder NT 5 is going to be over 4 years late...)

    I can't wait till I can demo a NW at CompUSA or somewhere local... they look neat! :)
  • Didn't know there was a /. fight about Corel stock before... but I tried to tell my coworkers (that have the money) to buy when it dropped to just over $1. No one did.... C'mon, some of you know the drill. "That freeware weenie thinks he knows about stock, too..."

    Wish I woulda had the money. Heck, a $300 buy woulda made me enough to BUY a NW ;)
  • looks like corel had to throw its shareholders a bone, but too bad it was with the only thing going for them...
  • Out of business within a year?

    Gee - I seem to remember people saying the exact same thing about Apple. In fact, Apple has been 'going out of business' for about 15 years now, according to pundits such as yourself who for one reason or another wish it were true. Now, Apple's stock has quadrupled and their marketshare is finally growing again. They're not quite out of it yet, but they're 10 times better than they were 2 years back.

    I don't know much about Corel other than that WordPerfect for DOS sucked hardcore (which wasn't their fault), but I can say this: It sounds like they're on a turnaround. There's a certain group of people out there who just love to point to one company or another and decree that it is 'already dead' or 'as good as dead', and often eat their words within a couple of years.

    ...Of course, you rarely see them admit such mistakes.

    - Darchmare
    - Axis Mutatis,
  • 25% stake in a pretty fatty hardware company for a product that that didn't take that long to develop and wasn't that hard to do (they ported a bunch of source that was already written)sounds like a good business decision. I don't think this indicates that they will stop developing for the netwinder or for Linux in general, it just means that they want to be software and not a hardware company...
  • They didn't even do all the porting. See Russell King's ARM port [], from which Corel's Linux is derived.
  • The recommended solution is to put your Netwinder in the vertical position (using the stand). This will keep the machine MUCH cooler and the fan will not turn on as often.
    Doing this has made the 10 Netwinders we have _much_ quieter.

  • Hardware/Software company Corel was like Pepsi-Taco Bell.
    Whay that's bad? Look my recent comment in Samovar awards for January ( follow link in subject ).
    That's the vertical marketing problem - not always very good.

  • Acorn invented the ARM (originally Acorn Risc Machine). Then DEC got it. Then Intel got the ARM from DEC. Intel is now talking about its plans for SA2xx.

    See []. Seems that Intel has StrongARM, but not ARM, as you wrote. That page seems to describe StrongARM as something ARM Ltd licenses to Intel.

  • I don't understand why the first responses are negative, about Corel giving up on Unix or losing out.

    It sounds to me like Corel just spun this hardware operation off to another company. This makes perfect sense - Corel is a *software* company, hardware is not their expertise. Turn the hardware business over to a hardware company, and in exchange own a big chunk of that company. Then Corel can go back to focussing on software.

    This sounds like very good news for Corel and the Netwinder to me.
  • Nope.

    ARM own the StrongArm; it was originally designed for the Acorn RiscPC. It's just that Intel have paid ARM for a non-exclusive right to poroduce the StrongArm family of processors.

    I live near to some very vocal Acorn advocates.
  • They make decent software, but have an inept marketing staff and the most hideous packaging of any company with its distribution reach.

    They try to sell powewrful, high-end software at bargain prices, providing family users with software only a trained professional can use and preculding themselves from being taken seriously by IT buyers.

    Now they take an admittedly odd fit--computers from a software company--and strip it of the one thing that made it promising: a brand with broad name recognition.

    I don't know how high HCC's profile is in Canada and elsewhere, but here in the US, I'd wager Cobalt and VAResearch are more widely known, and that's faint praise.

    Being known as the best-known vendor for SPARC clones and an up-and-coming player in the Canadian IT services world may be lucrative, but it's not a promising position to be in if you're looking to make a splash by selling workgroup-scale servers and thin-client desktops built around an offbeat CPU.

    I hope for their sake HCC is getting some experienced direct-sales and channel marketing people from Corel in the deal, and that if they don't get to keep the Corel brand on the boxes, that they have a US$20million war chest on hand for an all-out brand-awareness campaign in the likes of InfoWorld and, yes, PCWeek.

    Though I may change my mind as things progress, I suspect I'm taking Netwinders of my short-list for the 4 single-CPU servers I need in the second quarter.
  • Yes, at $1200 Canadian per NetWinder, that's about 400 NetWinders.

    In any case, the product is not bad for what, USD$3.3 million in R+D? That itself is an eye-opener. Starting from an open-source base and opening the project in both directions to the community clearly had benefits other vendors will doubtless find impressive.

    To their credit regarding the LC's non-appaearance thus far, nobody has ever succeeeded in packaging a user-manageable, truly turnkey general-use Un*x desktop for users without any Unix background.

    Even with KDE, there's a lot of glue (and new/better control panels with a unified UI) that needs to be written to pull this off right, so it can and should be expected to take longer than the server machines have. This is something any vendor has to understand needs to be done right on the first try, lest it get deservedly savaged like the original Newton.
  • I think Corel is not stupid, they made some money and they are re-estructurating their activities. Less resources on NetWinder means more on software, their primary line of work. We can expect a cheaper netwinder, and a more competitive Corel. Looks like a smart move to me.
  • Is Corel not interested in Netwinder anymore?
  • I just wish I had the money to put into Corel when I saw the first /. post on the subject!

    Corel is recovering, and as a stockholder, I personally see this as their best opportunity to mass-produce the netwinder.

    ...i just wish they kept the Corel name on it. NCC isn't a "good" name. (Corel is a familiar name, just in a different context...)

    my $0.02
  • So will the change bring us the RM (SCSI Support) version a little faster?
  • There are *hundreds* of stocks that will blow away any gains Corel will make this year...the only reason you would buy that stock is for purely sentimental reasons.
  • There are *hundreds* of stocks that will blow away any gains Corel will make this year

    Then you should be buying a little of all of them.

    ...the only reason you would buy that stock is for purely sentimental reasons.

    Or because you follow a long-term investment strategy like Motley Fool proposes. Of course, if you want to play stocks like gambling instead of like an investment, you can go for risky short-term gains like you seem to advocate.

    Buy stocks of proven companies that make products you understand. Keep those stocks for a long time. Buy lots of different stocks instead of lots of one stock.

    Do all that and you'll come out OKAY while people like Cassius are begging for spare quarters.
  • How much you will put? I will take.. ;)
  • Don't want to me-too, but this is the only reason making me wait for later versions. 1024x768x64k is not enough. I don't even go that low on my 15" monitor.

  • Corel Computer has always 'done their own thing' wrt Corel. This is just rearranging the chairs, so to speak. There would be real reason to be worried if they had claimed that they were going to port WINCE to the 'winder or some other insane nonsense. This announcement only shows that there is substantial interest in the little buggers outside of CC.
  • The GST takes a good 3 months or so to be refunded. That and your purchase needs to be over $50 CDN, and no less than a total of $200. More hassle than it is worth.
    However, some people must find deals up there -- Getting 1.50 CDN to $1 US ain't bad. My friend that works up at the border for an importer has never been busier -- Americans are importing about 200 cars (new and used) a day!

    Matthew in Seattle
  • If you drove to Canada, wouldn't you have to pay the 7% Goods/Services Tax, plus the 8% Provincial Sales Tax? That would add $25.50 to the cost, although UPS or FedEx could 2-day something like that for under $20. Or is Canada anal about making mail-order vendors charge sales tax? No flame, it's less than a 10 buck difference, just curious since I mail-order a lot of stuff but have never ordered anything from Canada before.


  • Nah, I didn't forget, I just never knew about the GST refunds for foreigners. If I were to call up a Canadian business and mail-order something (I'm in the US), would they add tax to my price? That's the nice thing about ordering things off the net, at least in the US -- no sales tax. And no, I certainly don't think it'll remain that way, 'cause greedy little socialist lawmakers are gonna start screaming for their share soon enough. *sigh*


  • On the one hand, it worries me that the Netwinder is now sold by a company nobody's ever heard of. That seems to increase the chance that it and HCC will both die a quiet death.

    On the other hand, I've been trying to get someone at Corel to sell me a Netwinder for about two months, and they don't answer their email. Maybe HCC will.

  • Unfortunately, I'm several time zones and an expensive phone call from Ottawa.
  • Uhm... Corel has had a hardware division for years and years... Corel Computer used to design SCSI solutions, but ASFAIK it was entirely geared towards OEMs - not end users, so I don't think any of their solution were sold under the Corel brand.
  • Corel stocks is now higher than they've been since October 1997... With a sharp rise since september last year. I really wish I had money to buy Corel stocks the last time Corel stock prices were discussed on Slashdot... I remember how people ridiculed Corel, and adviced against buying Corel shares. Only a few of us believed they'd rise. Now Corel shares are worth almost 5 times as much as they did last September...

    At least it shows that Corel management know a hell of a lot more about what they're doing than most of the people whining about Corel on Slashdot...

  • Corel stock is also doing great now... So why not cash in on both in one sweep? I'll be buying Corel stock too... They're finally starting to make money again.
  • Damn you :-) Well.. I'll buy some Corel stock real soon now(tm)... Just waiting one some of my consulting fees to come in :)
  • How do you know? Considering Corel was one of the best performers on both TSE and NASDAQ last year (THE best on TSE). And that is even including a rapid decline early last year - all of the gain they had came from september and out.

"Well, it don't make the sun shine, but at least it don't deepen the shit." -- Straiter Empy, in _Riddley_Walker_ by Russell Hoban