In October 2001, Microsoft invested $135 million in Corel, maker of WordPerfect and the corresponding suite of office productivity applications for Windows, Linux, and, at the time, Mac OS. Corel also had its own Linux distribution, of course, and had been ailing for several quarters due to a largely unfocused product line.
In January 2001, Corel announced its intentions to spin off its various Linux products and not work on broadening its WordPerfect customer base beyond its existing audience. Now Microsoft has reached an agreement with Sun, settling their $4 billion lawsuit for $1.6 billion. Since Microsofts total payment to Sun will come to well over 10 times the amount it paid to Corel, I wondered what impact if any this might have on OpenOffice.org? I asked Dr. Louis Suarez-Potts, community mnager for OpenOffice.org and Chair of the Community Council, what the possible repercussions might be for the popular open source office suite.
In terms of the Sun-Microsoft agreement leading to increased interoperability between products developed by the respective companies, as recently asserted by Sun CTO John Fowler, Suarez-Potts is not certain how or in what way the agreement might impact OpenOffice.org. He said that interoperability between OpenOffice.org and Microsoft Office is already quite high — apparently over 90 percent — and the upcoming 2.0 release of OpenOffice.org (created independently of any Sun-Microsoft agreement) should only increase this trend. Suarez-Potts also added that interoperability is typically an uphill battle.
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