Now that the company is back to life, Corel has elevated Derek
Burney to president and CEO of the company on a permanent basis.
The Ottawa-based software developer yesterday surprised the computing world
by announcing that rival Microsoft had invested $135 million in the
struggling company as part of an alliance to promote Microsoft's .Net strategy.
The Microsoft announcement has sparked Corel's stock today. Corel shares
closed up $2.09 to $5.78, a jump of 56 percent. The company's
stock had traded as high as $7.13--a 92 percent jump--after Microsoft said
yesterday that it would buy 24 million non-voting shares at $5.625 each.
Burney had been serving as interim president and CEO since August, when
founder Michael Cowpland abruptly resigned as CEO.
Burney was clearly central to the Microsoft deal. Microsoft general manager
Tom Button said the seeds for the deal with Corel were planted when he sent
Burney an email after Burney was named interim head of Corel.
Corel is already looking for ways to take its programs--including Corel
Draw, WordPerfect and Corel Linux--onto the Web, Burney said. The goal of
Microsoft's .Net is to allow services and software to be accessed by a
variety of electronic devices over the Web.
"We've seen the Web as a place where we want to put a phenomenal amount of
effort," Burney said. "This alliance is going to make that really work."
As part of the deal, Microsoft and Corel said they were settling any
remaining legal issues, although executives refused to identify what those
issues were and said the companies were not involved in any litigation
currently. In the past, Corel has often set itself up as a competitor to
Microsoft, releasing operating systems and applications that compete with
similar products from Microsoft.
Burney said yesterday that he hoped the deal would put to rest any financial
concerns about Corel.
Financial health has been a central problem for Corel. The company has
suffered losses in recent quarters and failed to gain much in market share. Following the collapse of a proposed merger with
Inprise in May, Corel has laid off a number of employees.
Along with making Burney's position permanent, the company elevated four
other executives to executive vice president.