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Corel Expands Linux Efforts

In a move that underscores the e-business sector's hunger for Linux operating systems, Corel Corp. grabbed Net development firm Inprise/Borland Corp. Monday in a stock exchange valued at $2.44 billion.

Inprise/Borland (INPR) shareholders will receive 0.747 Corel shares for each share of Inprise/Borland stock. Corel (CORL) will issue about 53.7 million common shares in the aggregate, in exchange for Inprise/Borland's outstanding shares. Inprise/Borland shareholders will own approximately 44 percent of Corel, with the balance being held by Corel's current shareholders.

Inprise/Borland will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Corel. Michael Cowpland will remain as president, chief executive officer and a director of the corporation. Dale Fuller, Inprise/Borland's interim president and CEO, will be appointed chairman of Corel's board of directors. The headquarters will be in Ottawa, Canada.

With one of the largest teams of Linux developers, Corel will be able to deliver more powerful solutions faster. Both companies will also continue to provide support for open standards, ensuring compatibility across Linux, Windows and Solaris platforms and applications.

Linux is an operating system that runs on hardware ranging from PCs and Macs to Alphas and more. Linux is used by a fast-growing number of programmers worldwide as a platform for running Internet servers and software applications. International Data Corp. forecasts the Linux operating environment, including both client and server, will grow at a compound annual rate of more than 25 percent through 2003.

Corel's work on the Linux operating system grew out of its earlier efforts developing software for the Unix operating system. With the release of WordPerfect 8 for Linux in December 1998, Corel established itself as a leading software developer for the open source operating system. To its credit, Inprise/Borland provides the tools to create enterprise applications for the Linux operating system. Most recently, Inprise/Borland announced the impending release of Kylix -- one of the first rapid-application development (RAD) tools for the Linux platform.

"With Inprise/Borland's leadership in the software development community and Corel's Linux desktop operating system and productivity applications, we have an extraordinary opportunity to reach all facets of the exploding Linux market," said Cowpland.

The deal serves as a shattering counterpoint to a similar deal inked last week when VA Linux Systems (LNUX) shelled out about $1 billion for Linux-dedicated site Andover.Net (ANDV) in an effort to gain large corners of the Linux market.