2000: Microsoft to the rescue again! Corel, a company that has had its fair share of “beleaguered” articles, has been hauled from the brink by its most hated enemy, Microsoft.
Embrace and extend, with an emphasis on embrace.
Let’s look at what happened when Microsoft last pulled this.
Microsoft Rescues Apple
Microsoft rode to the rescue of Apple in 1997, offering a big chunk of cash ($150 million) in exchange for Internet Explorer on the desktop and Apple dropping several unnamed lawsuits. Kiss and make up.
You said “uncle”; now do what I say.
Currently, Apple remains on good terms with Microsoft. Microsoft, without a doubt, turns out pretty good products. IE is not the worst browser on the market, and Office makes sure that no one in the business world has to know that you (horror of horrors) use a Mac.
So now that one enemy is down and happily bowing before the Microsoft altar, what’s the next step?
Go out and get another to cry “uncle.”
Apple was definitely a worthy opponent; it surely made Bill Gates happy when he had to help out. If you look at the Corel deal, though, Gates gets much more than a large bite out of a small pie.
Microsoft Rescues Corel
Currently, Corel is one of the corporate champions of Linux.* Porting apps like mad and supporting Linux upstarts like Rebel.com. Corel will undoubtedly be in charge of placing .NET onto the Linux platform.
Nice and neat, you see? No need for Microsoft to get messy with open-source, just hire (or bribe) a stooge to take the fall for you. Microsoft gets into the Linux action without putting its family jewels on the line. All part of the master plan.
Fast forward to now.
What is Apple’s relationship with Microsoft?
Muted support would be the best way of putting it.
No one complains too much about the heavy-handedness of Microsoft. The hardest hitting anti-Microsoft diatribe was Avie Tevanian’s testimony against Microsoft. Since then, not a peep. Support for the new versions of Explorer and, particularly, Office abound, however (as indicated in this article by Applelinks).
So, on the long road to world domination, Corel will likely be praising Microsoft and evangelizing the .NET strategy in two or three years time. Corel’s battle cry to take the office suite battle to Microsoft will be but a hollow memory as everyone lines up to get their hands on Microsoft-certified “open source” software.
Criticism of Microsoft, from within the ranks and the faithful followers, will be destroyed, and each new product from the Microsoft campus will be greeted with shouts of joy.
Of course, the icing on the cake is Corel porting all of its existing Mac apps over to .NET as well. Three operating systems all wrapped up and delivered to Bill.
All in a days work at Redmond.
* Corel even had its own version of Linux, marketed as Corel LinuxOS. Based on Debian, it was released in November 1999, followed by a second edition in August 2000. Corel abandoned its version of Linux in August 2001.
- Apple + Corel = A Software Powerhouse?, Stephen Van Esch, Mac Scope, 2000.06.19
- The Story of a Failure (Corel), Henrik Ingo, OpenLife.cc. “With no cash, Corel was hovering on the brink of bankruptcy when Microsoft – in the middle of its monopoly trial – rescued its competitor with a thick wad of notes.”