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Corel buys SoftQuad, acquires XML brains trust

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Corel is looking more perky than peaky these days, and after a long illness has regained its appetite for gobbling up small software companies.

Corel has agreed to acquire SoftQuad, best known as the author of the venerable validating HTML editor HotMetalPro, in a stock deal worth $36m. SoftQuad actually made its first SGML product in 1987, and can claim a hand in shaping the SGML standard and its much-hyped kin XML, and in creating the XML Working Group and before it, W3C.

The company employs Tim Bray as an advisor, and fellow XML luminaries Peter Sharpe and James Clark.

Corel meanwhile has in WordPerfect the only mass market word processor that’s a fully grown up SGML and XML editor. Although it keeps this jewel well-hidden, it's one of the reasons for WordPerfect's enduring appeal in for example, the defence sector, which mandates use of SGML DTDs.

How Corel intends to juggle the two is too early to say. But a statement issued by the pair promised that "this acquisition will enable Corel to enrich the existing XML capabilities within its WordPerfect product line, further extending the functionality that many of its customers in the government and legal communities currently enjoy"

It's certainly got the best brains to work this little conundrum out.

Three weeks ago Corel agreed to acquire Micrografx for a similar sum. ®

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