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Goodbye to Quarterdeck as Symantec snatches it up

Symantec needs the technology fast, but there may be weird patents in there too...

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Symantec yesterday announced it would be buying Quarterdeck for $65 million plus the assumption of the utilities outfit's outstanding debt. The deal, which will help reduce the effect of any negative outcome of the current Network Associates suit against Symantec, marks the sticky end of a once-great company. Quarterdeck was one of the earliest companies to have its key product disrupted by Microsoft's development, although even Bill Gates' worst critics today would describe the Microsoft developments in question as reasonable. Quarterdeck made it big with Desqview, a way to run multiple applications in Dos, and when Windows gradually eroded the need for this, did memory management instead. Again, that became less important as Microsoft enhanced its OS so it did the things it should have done in the first place. (No, really…) As we recall, some years back Quarterdeck acquired a patent governing the application of multi-tasking in Dos. This may now be irrelevant for everything bar DR-Dos, and we're not sure what happened to it. But maybe Gordon Eubanks would care to take a look in the Quarterdeck safe, and if it's still there, figure out something to do with it. More immediately the Symantec CEO will be looking to Quarterdeck's technology as a possible get-out from the Network Associates suit. Network Associates is suing Symantec, claiming Norton Uninstaller includes code owned by Cybermedia, a company it bought earlier this year. Last month a US judge told Symantec to stop selling Uninstaller, so it looks bad, and Quarterdeck provides an escape hatch should the worst happen. ® Click for more stories

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