ANALYSIS: Corel, Inprise see greener pastures Linux-way

ANALYSIS: Corel, Inprise see greener pastures Linux-way

Corel and Inprise have largely been driven by the rich opportunities they see in the Linux market over the next few years, in this week's merger that company officials on Monday said is worth $US2.44 billion.

The blending of Corel's success in the budding Linux desktop operating systems and application markets, together with Inprise's increasing strength in Linux tools markets, is intended to give both Red Hat and Microsoft more competition.

"To me the most exciting part of this deal is it offers a single source for Linux solutions. I think we have become the leader in Linux desktop OS sales since we shipped our product last year. On the Inprise side they have the development tools and enterprise-level middleware that should give us a very strong Linux lineup," said Michael Cowpland, who will serve as president and CEO of the new company, which will be called Corel, based in Ottawa, Canada.

"We have a long list of reasons for bringing together our two companies, but our shared vision is pretty straightforward: to lead the development of Linux and other open software technologies that will bridge and accelerate the value of the Internet," said Dale Fuller, currently Inprise's interim president and CEO, who will be chairman of Corel's board of directors.

Despite the reinforced commitment to Linux on both servers and desktop, Cowpland said his company is not backing away from its Windows development and that the Microsoft platform remains quite viable over the next few years.

"We see Windows as being the cash cow that is funding all this development and being quite strong for the decade ahead. However, we see a tremendous interest in Linux and it's moving up as an equal competitor to Windows," Cowpland said. "We think we have the ideal company to help people facilitate that," he said.

An important initiative for both companies is helping users either migrate from Windows to Linux and/or offer bridges that allow users to simultaneously run applications from both environments.

According to Cowpland, the number of users interested in moving from Windows to Linux has doubled over the past year.

Company officials claim they have a total of 55 million users and developers between the two companies, the vast majority of which are Windows-based, presenting them with a lavish opportunity to sell them on a host of Linux products.

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