Report: Corel to Acquire Parallels

Posted on November 27, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Mac and macOS, Windows, Windows 10 with 37 Comments

A report in TechCrunch states that Corel will announce plans to acquire Parallels as soon as today. Parallels, which makes popular virtualization software, will remain independent from Corel.

“Some employees at Parallels have already been briefed on the acquisition, which is expected to be announced to the whole company today,” the report notes. “Terms have not been disclosed but we understand it is an all-cash deal.”

Corel, as you may know, makes software products such as CorelDraw and WordPerfect and is, in the words of parent firm Vector, “highly profitable.”

Parallels, meanwhile, is most famous for Parallels Desktop, the Mac-based virtualization software that I happen to use and recommend.

What’s unclear, of course, is the synergy that may exist between these two companies. TechCrunch speculates that Corel could perhaps use Parallels’ technologies to bring its Windows-based application family to the Mac.

Thanks to Mary Jo Foley for tipping me off to this.


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Comments (37)

37 responses to “Report: Corel to Acquire Parallels”

  1. simont

    Small typo in the first line. It says Core when I assume you mean Corel.

  2. briantlewis

    Wait... Corel is still around?

    Man, 2018 just won't let up.

  3. wright_is

    There goes the neighbourhood,

  4. chrishilton1

    Next they will acquire Novel Networks

  5. matsan

    Ugh - another great company down the drain. The US company IDERA has been buying many of the development tools I am using/have been using. After the initial exodus of all good people the old company is a gutted, bleeding road-kill.

    Recently experienced how a company named Sencha Inc. (creator of high-end commercial Javascript frameworks) was taken over by IDERA in early 2017. The result is a complete disaster with non-functional support, jacked prices and an organisation in complete disarray with zero development and moving forward. All road-maps are tossed out the window and everything is in "maintenance mode" since then. Under IDERA they have managed to make one release that was almost done at the time of the take over but none of the zillions of bugs have been fixed after release.

    In May 2018, IDERA bought another company - Webyog - and just jacked up prices. One bug-fix release is all they have managed to release so far.

  6. waethorn

    Parallels would be hard up to find a better company to buy them out.

    I just wish they'd put more out for Linux, but their VDI solutions look pretty good too. Maybe an enterprising startup would utilize their software and build a hosted service on it.

  7. MikeGalos

    That Parallels was available for a buy-out says something about Macintosh sales levels.

    What's surprising is that Apple didn't buy them. I guess "Windows on a Mac" usage was big enough for them to admit the need by making BootCamp but having a feature in macOS to run Windows applications was just one line too far.

  8. jchampeau

    I had no idea Corel was still in business.

    • red.radar

      In reply to jchampeau:

      And...They are "very" profitable !?!?

      I got to know how....

      • christian.hvid

        In reply to red.radar:

        Corel's "business" these days is mainly to squeeze the last dollars out of dying products. If I had to guess, I'd say WordPerfect accounts for most of their profits, along with any patents they may have acquired. But I was under the impression that Parallels was alive and well - so why is it relegated to the Corel graveyard?

        • matsan

          In reply to christian.hvid:

          My guess is that Corel sees the subscription model of Parallels with many, many users paying a yearly fee - yummy $$$.

          Most of the developers at Parallels are probably already gone and to be replaced by new developers that are clueless about the products (this is my experience with Sencha Inc I posted above). Management will have lock-in deals for a year or so to keep some well-known faces on the websites and webinars to keep customers from looking for another solutions, repeating the mantra of "nothing will change". They will eventually leave the company and then it's off to the graveyard.

          • BeckoningEagle

            In reply to matsan:

            Completely agree with you. All of the Corel products I've owned that were aquired from other companies such as Paint Shop and WordPerfect have not seen substantial innovation for years. Every year they bring out a new version with new features like "The print button is now on the left side", or the Zoom feature now zooms to 4x instead of 2x Yeaaaahhhh!!!!!

            Not to mention the constant harrassment to upgrade and how cumbersome it is to find where to turn off these advertisements. These happen for all their products, Paint Shop, Video Studio, etc....

      • BeckoningEagle

        In reply to red.radar:

        Skeleton crew of developers and selling non-substantial upgrades to 90's software. The profit margin on each copy of WordPerfect has to be near 100%, and that is only one product.

  9. skane2600

    I too didn't realize that Corel was still in business.

    I think WordPerfect must hold the record for the most sold off company in tech. Had they fully embraced Windows earlier things might have been different. They resisted making a Windows version and when they finally did, they tried to continue to roll their own printer drivers rather than using the standard Windows ones. I remember I crashed their first attempt in the first 10 min of use.

    On the positive side, their "reveal codes" option seemed to be at least a "spiritual" predecessor to HTML.

    • MikeGalos

      In reply to skane2600:

      There's no question that Pete Peterson (head of and one of 3 owners of WordPerfect Corp.) deciding to bet that Windows would fail and OS|2 would win was the key of their loss to Word but there were a lot of factors. To be fair, though, most people were betting on IBM and against Microsoft at the time.

      As you pointed out, the printer driver decision was a factor but probably a necessary one. Windows had, at the time, very poor printer drivers and WordPerfect's customer base couldn't afford to lose printer support and WordPerfect's drivers were very good and covered a huge array of devices. The solution they picked was, in the short run, the only choice. The problem was not the idea but the horribly buggy implementation.

      As to WordPerfect using paired codes leading to HTML, really that's more like the debate about Apple and Microsoft inventing the GUI when they both stole it from Xerox.

      WordPerfect's paired markup codes and HTML were both "spiritual descendants" of IBM's markup language DCF/Script which later became GML and SGML.

      [Disclaimer: Before I went to Microsoft, WordPerfect considered me an "influential user" and used to send me a box every year or so with their entire product line. While I worked on the systems side of the house at Microsoft, my wife (then girlfriend) worked on the Word for Windows 1.0 team.]

      • skane2600

        In reply to MikeGalos:

        Perhaps during the time WordPerfect for Windows was being planned the Windows printer drivers were bad, but by the time it was released (the Windows 3.1 time-frame) Windows had a very good printing system. With TrueType fonts, Windows supported WYSIWYG while WordPerfect (at least the legacy versions) used the "guess what 'Large' means" approach. And "Large" could vary considerably from printer to printer. Not to mention the dreaded "This page is too complicated to print" message. Windows 3.1 with an inkjet printer really brought desktop publishing to the masses.

        Technological origins are always tricky to pin down. You could say that WordPerfect made the HTML-like approach relatively well-known even if DCF/Script by IBM did it first. 

        • MikeGalos

          In reply to skane2600:

          Remember that WordPerfect came out of the Data General minicomputer world and not the PC world. They were well aware of markup languages. The first PC version of WordPerfect was a port of their Data General minicomputer terminal based word processor that competed with IBM's Document Composition Facility (DCF/Script) on IBM's System/370 mainframes and System/36 minis.

        • MikeGalos

          In reply to skane2600:

          Sorry but your memory is off. WordPerfect for Windows was on the market long before the Windows 3.1 days. You're likely confusing WordPerfect for Window 5.2 which came out about the same time as Word for Windows 2.0. That's not uncommon because WordPerfect for Windows 5.1 (the first version) was so horrible that virtually nobody looked at it past ten minutes with an evaluation copy.

          • skane2600

            In reply to MikeGalos:

            I must have used the first version of WordPerfect for Windows but got the date for the 5.2 version instead. On the other hand I'm not sure that the time difference between the original WordPerfect for Windows (1991) and Windows 3.1 (1992) could accurately be described as "long before". 

    • plettza

      In reply to skane2600:

      They also own WinZip, Roxio, and Paint Sho Pro as well as AfterShot which they acquired from another place.

    • BeckoningEagle

      In reply to skane2600:

      Right up there with "Geoworks", that's for sure.

      WordPerfect was a victim of IBM and OS/2. In the end I think they would have lost to Excel anyway, Microsoft monopoly power was just too much. I had to negotiate a licensing agreement in the 90's for a large bank, over 10,000 licenses. Microsoft would use Windows to leverage Office sales. If we bought Office, WIndows NT 4 was close to free, if we bought Lotus 123 or WordPerfect then WIndows NT 4 was extremely expensive. I remember the company president being mad and asking me "Isn't that the reason they are being sued by the FTC?" to which I replied "Yes!, you can wait until that case is resolved and let the year 2000 roll you over, or go with Microsoft at this point and be completely compliant" (Windows and most software was Y2K ready at this time, but we were still running very old software at the time. The upgrade was a massive overhaul of all the IT infrastructure).

      At least we got to keep NetWare and GroupWise (renamed from WordPerfect Office v4.5 after Novell sold it to Corel) which at the time was far superior than NT Server and Exchange, and cheaper.

      • waethorn

        In reply to BeckoningEagle:

        Why buy Windows when you should be already getting it as part of your OEM PC purchases?

        This is a point that I don't really get with businesses looking at Microsoft licensing. If you just bought OEM PC's with Windows 10 Pro, do they really need Enterprise for every single PC? Are you going to care about upgrading them to Windows.NEXT? Do you really need direct support from Microsoft for the OS over and above what the OEM provides? No? Then just license Office.

        • MikeGalos

          In reply to Waethorn:

          Because when you're buying 10,000 computers and 10,000 licenses you don't get anything you don't want as part of your purchases. And your Enterprise license for Windows is a LOT cheaper than the OEM pricing passed on to you with the PC purchases so you don't buy it from your hardware vendor with their markup.

          As for support, you also don't buy OS support from your OEM since you have your own IT staff doing support and they get second tier support from Microsoft as part of your enterprise license.

          Lastly, you want all your OS images to be as close to identical as possible so your support issues are tied to problems with that one, specific hardware/software configuration. Then you install software (including the OS) on test machines identical to what you deployed and find bug fixes and workarounds before rolling out a new version. You can't do that if you have a mix of OEM versions.

        • BeckoningEagle

          In reply to Waethorn:

          The OEM would sell Windows 98, we were getting upgrades to NT Workstation with the purchase. The agreement was cheaper to go Windows 95 and purchase the upgrade through the agreement than to purchase the NT directly from the OEM. Keep in mind that at the time NT was only PRO, there was no such thing as a home version and Windows 98 was going to become Windows ME, which was not supported in an SMS environment, which we were acquiring as well (Windows 98 and 95 were supported, for some reason). The reseller agreed to replace all the Windows 95 installations with our image of the NT 4.0 so it was a clean installation for a very low price. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that it was close to free.

      • MikeGalos

        In reply to BeckoningEagle:

        The time you're talking about is long after the battle was over. WordPerfect was mostly gone long before Windows was even considered viable by corporations. It not only wasn't a "monopoly" at the time but was a long-shot against the joint IBM/Microsoft OS|2. Remember that this battle was in the Windows 2.1 days. Windows at that time was a legacy product that had never been successful and had been losing vast amounts of money for Microsoft. It wasn't until Windows 3 that Windows was used by more than a tiny group of users and Windows 1 and 2 had virtually no mainstream software.

        Remember that while you're talking about products from Novell and Corel, this is back when WordPerfect Corporation (renamed from Satellite Software International) was a private corporation owned by 3 people and was, by far, the dominant Word Processor in the world. The failure we're talking about here is why that company collapsed and was sold off to Novell in the first place.

        Another factor in WordPerfect Corporation's collapse was that private ownership which meant no stock options for employees. Combine that with recruiting developers to work in Utah rather than Seattle or Boston. Combine that with a literally 3 layer system of staffing (employees, one layer of managers, 3 executives who owned the company) which meant nobody got promotions or stock and they couldn't hire people from anywhere but BYU to save their (corporate) lives.

        And I assume you mean they would have lost to Word and not Excel. Their spreadsheet (PlanPerfect) was pretty awful and couldn't compete with Lotus 1-2-3 which owned the spreadsheet market at the time. For that matter, Excel was a Mac only product at the time we're discussing and there was no Microsoft spreadsheet for Windows yet. Microsoft's only PC spreadsheet was MultiPlan.

        [Disclaimer: Before I went to Microsoft, WordPerfect considered me an "influential user" and used to send me a box every year or so with their entire product line. While I worked on the systems side of the house at Microsoft, my wife (then girlfriend) worked on the Word for Windows 1.0 team.]

        • BeckoningEagle

          In reply to MikeGalos:

          It is actually kind of in between. We were standardized on WordPerfect and Lotus accross the company. So changing to Microsoft Office also had a conversion cost which we needed to consider, especially in spreadsheets, being a large bank. We started negotiating with Microsoft before they were sued, but you are right, our negotiation on WordPerfect and Lotus was with Novell and IBM respectively.

          Our e-mail system was WordPerfect Office which became GroupWise after Novell purchased. All of what you say are also good factors in WordPerfect' s demise, but in the specific case of our company, the price differential when negotiating with the different companies was the deciding factor. Although in hindsight we would've shot ourselves in the foot had we gone with WP and Lotus at the time. Novell kept WP Office and rename it to GroupWise, with which we had a good run and our money's worth. until Exchange became a usable product (to me that was the 2003 version, but there may be other opinions out there).

          The Microsoft salesperson hated me at the time (we are good friends now), I was able to refuse signing Software Assurance unless they gave me 3 years of upgrades instead of the 2 that it was at the time (it is now 3). My company got the upgrades to Windows 2000 without paying an extra cent.

          • MikeGalos

            In reply to BeckoningEagle:

            My point wasn't that anything you said wasn't accurate just that it was years after WordPerfect had self-destructed. They and Lotus Development bet on OS|2. A bad decision that took both of them from unassailable monopolies to bankrupt has-beens sold off to cash-rich companies that couldn't save them.

  10. joshhuggins

    Yikes. Corel is where programs go to die.

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