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Editor's Note: On the Failed Corel-Inprise Merger
No Fat Lady Singing
May 18, 2000
People are probably reading more into the failed Corel-Inrpise merger than is there. If you scan the business papers at all, you'd see that many corporate mergers fall through because of various circumstances. And even though both Inprise and Corel are important presences in the Linux world, neither could be said to be pure Linux plays: neither company derives most of its income from Linux products.
Indeed, the merger failed not because of any shortcoming in Linux, but because of a simple thing: the economic parameters for the deal had changed between the time the deal was announced and the time the deal was supposed to be consummated. You could argue that a general decline in the Linux market led to a depression of stock prices on both sides, and you'd be right to an extent.
So where does that leave the Linux community, now that the merger fell through? Pretty much in the same position. Inprise is still planning on supporting Linux in its existing product line and with the future release of Kylix. Corel is still going strong with Corel Linux, WordPerfect Office 2000 for Linux, and Wordperfect for Linux. Neither of those tools are truly essential for Linux users: if you've been following LinuxPlanet this week, you'd know that there are other outstanding office suites on the market, and when it comes to Kylix it's tough to miss a product that's not yet been released.
I feel sorry for the Inprise and Corel employees who were counting on a merger to breathe new life into both companies. But don't yet count out either one: both Inprise (n�e Borland) and Corel have been on the brink of disaster before, and both have managed to rebound impressively. There ain't no fat lady singing--yet.