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Corel Sheds XML Business

Corel has ditched the Web services market by agreeing to sell its XMetal division to technology consultant Blast Radius for an undisclosed sum.

Ottawa, Canada's Corel created XMetal to simplify the creation of XML applications for businesses. The authoring product is geared to compete with Microsoft's InfoPath and Adobe's Document server.

According to a company statement, Vancouver, B.C.-based Blast Radius aims to use XMetal to complement its existing content collaboration product offerings, which are based on XML, the popular language used to create Web services applications. Research firms agree XML is driving modern application development.

"We intend to fully support XMetaL, continue its development, and support emerging XML standards such as XBRL," said Blast Radius CEO Gurval Caer. "Working alongside other innovative companies in the XML arena, Blast Radius has made a commitment to lead the charge in the XML revolution for documents."

Meanwhile, Corel CEO Amish Mehta discussed the company's change in strategy, opting to sharpen its focus around the company's core competency, which includes CorelDRAW Graphics Suite and software for WordPerfect Office.

Researchers at XML and Web services firm ZapThink discussed the move with internetnews.com, noting the hot competition in the Web services document space.

ZapThink analyst Jason Bloomberg said the offloading makes sense given the heavy competition, as IBM/Rational, Borland, Sybase, Sun, and Microsoft are building full XML capabilities, narrowing the opportunity for stand-alone XML tools.

"Corel has long been strong on the desktop, but their eminence on the server-side has never really been shown," said ZapThink analyst Ronald Schmelzer. "Their entry into XML and Web Services market clearly is coming to an end, from an independent product perspective, with the sale of the XMetal product and the absorption of Smart Graphics into the rest of their product line (they're no longer selling this product separately). With Corel exiting the market, it looks as though the only contenders selling XML and Web Services products for enabling desktop productivity are Microsoft and Adobe..."