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.comment: Microsoft and Corel--Not Good News - page 2

A Life-Support Injection

  • October 3, 2000
  • By Dennis E. Powell

So what is Microsoft really up to here? It goes without saying that Redmond would just as soon that WordPerfect disappear entirely. And Microsoft is now in a position to make that happen, though don't expect to see the plug get pulled just yet. Instead, the idea would be to bring WordPerfect (and WordPerfect Office) users to Microsoft Office. The best way to do this would be to limit or eliminate further WordPerfect development while offering attractive or even free upgrades to MS Office. That would go far toward capturing the little dab of Windows users--mostly law firms--still using WordPerfect.

Microsoft would probably very much like to offer Microsoft Corel DRAW! This product would be largely unchanged from the current product save for the use of some of those undocumented API calls so that it would work better with MS Office (and less well with WordPerfect Office).

But this is all Windows dressing. What about Linux?

Simple. Internet Explorer. Corel has some people who are good--well, as good as anyone has been--at porting Windows applications to Linux. Bring Internet Explorer to Linux. Make it free, and make it good. Throw in a few hooks that are incompatible with anything else. Grab a huge share of the Linux market. Make it the standard to which web pages are written.

Hell, while we're at it, maybe even bring over MS Office. Make it free for private, noncommercial use, too. Throw it in to some little distribution, if it's seen that Corel Linux actually has any market value. And grab a big share there, too.

Then pull the plug. You want to surf the web? You'll need Internet Explorer, no longer available for Linux. You want to exchange documents? You'll need MS Office, no longer available for Linux.

Linux would instantly become the hobbyist operating system it was four or five years ago. Microsoft's monopoly (or monopolies, if it gets split in two, which won't accomplish anything at all except the further enrichment of Microsoft shareholders) becomes nearly absolute.

The investment by Microsoft in Corel is good news only if you're a Corel employee whose rent is due. All the talk about how this will somehow benefit Linux is just dead wrong, as anyone familiar with Microsoft's history instantly knows.

It's bad news.

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