back to article Corel – yeah, as in CorelDraw – looks in its Xmas stocking and discovers... Parallels

When Corel CEO Patrick Nichols asked for Parallels for Christmas, we hope he meant the whole company rather than a copy of the desktop virtualization tool. Because that's what he got. The whole thing. Canadian software maker Corel announced on Thursday it is snapping up US-based Parallels. Corel is best known for CorelDraw, …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'Vector Capital-owned Corel has pledged to plow investment into Parallels'

    A private equity firm will always say things this while they believe there is a good profit to be made. Once it is clear it can't be done, all bets are off and the company's product portfolio or entire existence become an asset to sell off as quickly as possible.

    I've already said this about Drobo and stand by that. Unlike a private equity firm.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: 'Vector Capital-owned Corel has pledged to plow investment into Parallels'

      I think VC and Parallels are a perfect match, Parallels is ransomware. Every major version of Parallels seems to be incompatible with every new version of OS X in some way, and, oh, we have a new major version of Parallels which fixes that, at a very reasonable price. And in case you're not convinced we're also dropping all updates for the version you have now.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Coreldraw on Qualcomm Snapdragon 855

    I'm guessing...

    Corel intends to leverage the expertise of the Parallels team to port part of their suite of Apps (Coreldraw/VideoStudio) to the Windows Arm/Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 natively, given MS had past investments in Corel. It would give them a lead in raw performance over Adobe Photoshop (running under hw emulation), if they did - on the Snapdragon platform.

    Sounds like either Corel or Microsoft are trying to have a set of native Apps from day one on Microsoft's folding book type Andromedia device (if it ever surfaces - forgive the pun) or Hololens.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Coreldraw on Qualcomm Snapdragon 855

      I don't know how many Adobe power users are interested in ARM devices (unless one day Apple forces them to). Pro graphics/photo/video applications need a lot of CPU/GPU power and wide gamut monitor(s), and most of the time users are not working on battery-powered laptops.

      While low-power laptops make a lot of sense for people working away from a power outlet for extended times

      Corel is just trying to survive - because as soon as it buys something, it makes user fly away (ex PSP and WinZip user here...)

      1. james_smith

        Re: Coreldraw on Qualcomm Snapdragon 855

        Well, there is a lot of speculation that Apple may move all their hardware to be Arm based which has some sense to it. If so, then Corelmay be hoping to steal a march on Adobe by getting their apps onto Arm natively first. That would be naive though considering how wedded to Photoshop its users are.

  3. TonyJ Silver badge

    Parallels bought 2X

    2X were a company competing in the same space as Citrix and RDS.

    Although I never had any direct contact with their products, their licensing (way, pre-Parallels acquisition) was always far more favourable than Citrix.

    And I know of companies using it and their comments always suggested they were happy with their choice.

    I was always impressed with the coherence mode of Parallels (I believe that's the name they gave it? Where Win apps appear seamlessly as if they were native Mac apps) - it always seemed to j"ust work" - which in the IT world, as we all know, is high praise.

    It'l be interesting to see how this pans out.

    1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

      Re: Parallels bought 2X

      was always impressed with the coherence mode of Parallels (I believe that's the name they gave it? Where Win apps appear seamlessly as if they were native Mac apps) - it always seemed to j"ust work" - which in the IT world, as we all know, is high praise.

      VirtualBox has a similar "Seamless Mode" as well.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Parallels bought 2X

        VirtualBox has a similar "Seamless Mode" as well.

        Maybe. Personally I just found Parallels easier to work with than VirtualBox. It's not as if Oracle has lavished it since they got it from Sun. And with Oracle you never know when they're going to EOL it.

        I use Parallels to manage Windows VMs and the integration (in a separate Window for me, thank you very much) means I don't spend time playing with settings. I refuse to upgrade to a new version each year despite all the speed promises: should be lightspeed by now given how many improvements they've made.

        But I suspect the purchase will be for the Plesk and Virtuozzo stuff that I think Parallels owns. Some nice regulat licence fees there.

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: Parallels bought 2X

          Virtualbox started out as an open source fork of qemu, and so it could return to the community if Oracle were to ever decide to EOL it. But why WOULD they? As long as they don't break it by re-inventing the entire UI or something equally redonculous (like Microsoft might do for a "new, shiny") I don't see it as requiring that much effort to maintain...

      2. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

        Re: Parallels bought 2X

        VirtualBox has a similar "Seamless Mode" as well.

        It does. I've used it as well. It was an experience to forget.

        (Maybe it's better now, IDK...)

  4. Alistair Dabbs

    Oh no!

    Corel *used* to be famous for CorelDraw, then it became notorious for turning everything it purchased into bloatware, complete with day-long installations that included millions of irrelevant utilities and other such digital litter that you didn’t ask for. Parallels already nags me to extend licences for add-ons that it inserted secretly and I never knew were running, and I expect this is going to get much, much worse.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oh no!

      Yeah. I still run CorelDraw X12 or something in an XP virtual box, but really Corel Draw 8 was good enough feature wise.

      If they had spent as much effort porting it to linux...I'd have paid for a new copy.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re:I still run CorelDraw

        I was wondering who still used Corel. It's you!?

    2. BugabooSue

      Re: Oh no!

      Yup. Used to love CorelDraw and that got messed-up. Then PaintShop Pro became a turd too.

      I feel sorry for anyone who has relied on Parallels up until now.

      How many other useful programs is this outfit going to shaft? :(

    3. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Oh no!

      They wrecked PaintShopPro. PSP7 was good. Now I use The Gimp!

      I never liked Corel Draw or Wordperfect (DOS-Wordstar/NewWord better- or Windows-Word2.0a better - before Corel)

      1. Oodles of Noodles

        Re: Oh no!

        A few months back I made the stupid decision to buy and install a new version of Coral PSP. Shortly after I started to get inundated with ads on my W10 desktop constantly beseeching me to buy more crap and updates from them.

        This has got to be the first time that I was thankful for a catastrophic machine failure forcing me to re-install everything ... except for the now hated Coral product!!

        1. LDS Silver badge

          Re: Oh no!

          When I upgrade to and installed PSP X3, I found it installed a software that kept on scanning the hard disk, for unknown reasons.

          That's after I removed all the silly "utilities" which should have helped me to find and import new photos (thank you - I perfectly know where I store them, and how to import them from my camera).

          That was the last time I bought a Corel product. Had to switch to Adobe - GIMP was not up to the task and no RAW formats support, and Afffinity was Mac only back then.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Oh no!

          Oodles of Noodles,

          FYI

          Corel install background progies that call the 'Mothership' and pop-up the ads.

          It is part of PSP.

          Just ignore them if you have no interest in them.

          You can 'cripple' this feature, if you have a firewall program running on your PC, BUT it may have unforeseen impact on the smooth running of PSP.

        3. Grenou

          Re: Oh no!

          It's Corel (short for: Cowpland Research Laboratory) not Coral.

          If you had used the settings in PSP, you would not have received all those annoying ads.

          Something to do with the famous "Between the user and the keyboard"?

          PaintShop Pro is an excellent program, the user just needs to learn how to use it.

          I am sure The Gimp doesn't spontaneously turn your photos into works of art without having to hit a few keys :-)

      2. Whitter
        Unhappy

        Re: Oh no!

        PSP7 is still entirely usable and useful.

        A shame that nothing after the Corel buy-out was anything like as good.

    4. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: Oh no!

      Corel *used* to be famous for CorelDraw

      CorelSCSI was useful at the time

    5. Grenou

      Re: Oh no!

      Oh dear..

      I am a life long PaintShop Pro user (I beta test for Corel) and have observed that over the years nothing much worth while has been added to PSP, but one would not believe that reading the 'promotional' words!

      There used to be a saying : "Corel is where good software goes to die".

      Can't add much more to that.

      Sad.

  5. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    Parallels Workstation for Linux

    I actually bought a copy of Parallels Workstation for Linux back in about 2004, when VirtualBox either did not exist, or was very immature.

    Parallels was excellent, allowing me to run Windows on Linux in seamless mode, and was very efficient.

    Unfortunately, after they pulled the product (for Linux) and the Linux kernel interface changed over time, the kernel modules for Parallels (which were provided in source to be compiled with the kernel headers) would not compile, and although I had a bit of a poke at them to try to get them working, I could not do it my available time, and I eventually (and reluctantly) switched to VirtualBox.

    Although I still use VirtualBox now, I would still consider buying a new copy for Linux if they re-introduced it (rather than paying for the commercial extensions to VirtualBox for the better bits like high speed USB).

    IIRC, they also had/have a containerization product (it was available long before Docker et. al.) that they touted for Cloud applications a few years ago. Might Corel have been wanting that technology?

  6. fnusnu

    Is the business plan

    To get people to actually pay for winzip? Did anyone? Ever?

    1. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

      "...pay for winzip? Did anyone? Ever?"

      Yes, me. Still works, but I changed to a command line tool for batch file convenience.

    2. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Is the business plan

      Once WinZip had a "lifetime" license, you paid it only once. I paid for it, why not? Then after some years it was bought by Corel and they thought they could have made a lot of money from it .- and changed its terms in a far less advantageous way - exactly when a lot of freeware/open source tools were going to be available...

    3. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

      Re: Is the business plan

      I paid for WinRar. From the other comments it seems like this was the more sensible option.

  7. DrXym Silver badge

    Not surprising

    Corel has always been the final resting place of the also-ran software that they acquired from some failing business.

    I still recall installing Corel Office on a PC a very long time ago and being confronted with an eclectic mix of rebranded Borland, Wordperfect Corp and other random software. Each with its own look and feel, support tools and quirks. Naturally this involuntarily mashed together budget suite ran as seamlessly as you might expect.

    1. AMBxx Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Not surprising

      But I still miss InfoCentral.

    2. SImon Hobson Silver badge

      Re: Not surprising

      Corel has always been the final resting place of the also-ran software that they acquired from some failing business.

      As a long term Parallels user, I can assure you that it's not and "also ran" bit of software. But it is worrying that it's been acquired by a company with such a reputation - and I feel a sense of deja vu coming on ...

      Many many years ago I was using a bit of software called (IIRC) Virtual PC which did more than just a compatibility layer as it also had to do machine level translation to emulate the Intel chip on the Power PC (G4 or earlier). Then the company was acquired by Micro$oft who clearly were after it's "windows on windows" capabilities. Needless to say, ongoing development for Macs didn't happen and when the G5 came out then it stopped working. My memory is too hazy to recall what I used between that and getting an Intel based Mac - but since I got an Intel processor I've been using Parallels as an essential tool. I really hope it does go down the pan.

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: Not surprising

        If Apple switch from Intel to ARM as is rumoured, then Parallels is finished, much like Microsoft Virtual PC was when they switched from PPC to Intel. I suspect the owners want to cash out before that happens.

        1. P. Lee Silver badge

          Re: Not surprising

          I don't think even Apple would go away from Intel no matter how much they want to. Not with the current system usage. I think they'll be quite happy developing for the ipad, which fills that ultra-proprietary device niche for them. There are good reasons why MS couldn't get their ARM laptop accepted.

          All it takes is for vmplayer to go free on MacOS though and its pretty much game over for Parallels.

  8. steelpillow Silver badge
    Boffin

    History, history

    WordPerfect was the original dominant wordprocessor on MS Windows, taking over the marketplace from the older WordStar on MSDOS. It was famous for its "reveal codes" feature which gave you an editable view of the raw ASCII document code. Magic! Rather than make a better product themselves, MS indulged in their usual hated tactics to oust WordPerfect and force their own Word on everybody, and from that grow an office suite to oust Lotus 1-2-3 etc. Corel bought the failing WordPerfect and, bless their cotton socks, kept it on life support until it regained a semblance of consciousness.

    Meanwhile, Corel Draw was falling victim to Adobe's equally disreputable selling of their Sh*tware. Xara was a blazlingly fast and easy to use up-and-coming competitor to on Acorn's RISC OS/Archimedes. As the ARM-based OS fell from favour, so too did Xara's sales. They offered their UI to Inkscape, hoping to do a tie-in with Inkscape as the free version and Xara as the much faster pay-for version, but in the end all it did was improve Inkscape no end. Instead, Xara was bought up by Corel, who used its algorithms and UI to refresh Corel Draw. Hats off to the Xara team and RISC OS for the colour picker we have all used to death ever since.

    I am amazed and delighted that Corel have the cash to buy anything any more.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      "WordPerfect was the original dominant wordprocessor on MS Windows"

      WordPerfect was the dominant wordprocessor on MS DOS.

      Windows spelled its end, because it couldn't adapt to the new GUI quickly enough. There is an interesting history available about why it happened, written by one of the WordPerfect people, although it could be somewhat biased (http://www.wordplace.com/ap/index.shtml)

      Basically they had a golden egg chicken, and didn't invest enough in the new environment. Just like Lotus (and others) did. Partly, it was understandable - back then it wasn't so much clear how much Windows would have become dominant, and how fast - it's far easier now with 25 years of hindsight.

      But Apple UI success should have suggested that GUIs and multi-windows graphical environments were far superior and users would have switched quickly. Adobe understood it, from its Apple experience, and it's still here. The others are not.

      Sure, MS did its best to hinder competitors - but the latter also spent a lot of time firing into their feet.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "WordPerfect was the original dominant wordprocessor on MS Windows"

        > WordPerfect was the dominant wordprocessor on MS DOS.

        Not quite. It displaced WordStar because a) MicroPro was epically mismanaged into irrelevance B) WP got a great reputation for "support". Totally by accident. Long stories. The MicroPro one is funnier. In a black humour sort of way.

        MS-Word on Win3.x only got a real foothold when it was "bundled" with Excel for large corporate accounts. Until then it ran a weak 2'nd or 3'rd most years. The code in Win3.x/Win9x/Win32 to break the competitions products can be found in the source code if you know where to look. Often a matter of just not fixing bugs that crashed the current versions of the competitors products.

        As for the death of WP that is a very odd tale. The shotgun marriage with Novel was due to WP's botched accounting only discovered when their a/c's were restated for a planned I.P.O. Instead of a healthy profit they were actually making a large loss. WP eventually finding itself in that home for the walking dead software, Corel. If the product is not already on its last legs when Corel buys it, it soon will be.

        1. LDS Silver badge

          Re: "WordPerfect was the original dominant wordprocessor on MS Windows"

          WordPerfect overtook WordStar well before Windows became a contender. WordStar made many of the mistakes WordPerfect & C. would have made later.

          The great reputation for WP support was valid in US only. Outside it, there was not that support. And in the 1990s the software market was no longer just a local one. MS understood it well.

          But in the early 1990s, the landscape was much more complex. It wasn't clear if Windows or OS/2 would have dominated the PC "compatible" market. While MS was obviously only focused on Windows, all the others tried to juggle with DOS, Windows and OS/2. Many tried to bet on OS/2 because they saw - correctly - MS as their deadliest competitor. But the bet backfired when OS/2 went nowhere, Windows became dominant, and they had no Windows product really ready. They prioritized different goals, often shifting direction, and that lead to subpar products. Windows development was new back then, and skilled developers were scarce.

          The "divide et impera" approach of MS worked, it could use any way, including anti-competition tricks, to stop its competitors, which never got together and sued MS for anti-competitive behaviours before going wrecked. We had to wait for the browser war. The sad fact is they were much more alike MS than they would like to admit - just less lucky.

          Word started to dominate when MS tightly integrated everything into the Office suite - having a common UI and commands, and being able to easily integrate a spreadsheet table or chart into a document was a huge step forward for usability.

          Moreover daisy wheel/dot matrix printers weren't great to produce documents, and had a very limited choice of fonts and sizes - they worked well enough with text UI word processors.

          It changed when laser and inkjet printer started to deliver scalable high-quality text with many different fonts at affordable prices - and LANs made easier to share them. They became widely available exactly when Windows was taking off - and you needed a real WYSIWYG editor to really take advantage of them. Being able to understand the control codes required skilled users - looking at the page as it should print was far, far easier.

          Also, Windows offered a standard way to access a printer capabilities - you no longer needed application-specific drivers. As long as a new printer hit the market, as long as there was a Windows driver you could use it, without waiting for a DOS application support - which could require an upgrade.

          Not surprisingly WordPerfect last stronghold was the legal sector - where document formats are severely standard and restricted, and little is left to DTP skills.

      2. HandleAlreadyTaken

        Re: "WordPerfect was the original dominant wordprocessor on MS Windows"

        >Windows spelled its end, because it couldn't adapt to the new GUI quickly enough.

        I was a hardcore user of WordPerfect under DOS (I still believe WP 5.1 is the pinnacle of word processors), at the point where I had pretty much all key combinations (with Shift, Ctrl and Alt too) already burned down to muscle memory.

        When I had to switch to Windows, I found, much to my surprise, that most of the key combos didn't work anymore in WP for Windows. However, they did work with the WP compatibility mode of Word for Windows! I had to switch to Word because, ironically, it was a better WordPerfect than WordPerfect.

    2. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

      Re: History, history

      They made WordStar for DOS? I've only ever seen the CP/M version in the wild...

    3. James O'Shea Silver badge

      Re: History, history

      WordPerfect was dominant on MS-DOS. The original devs hadn't a clue about Windows and were very, very, VERY late to Macs. When they did make it to Windows, they charged more than Microsoft did for Word. When they made it to Mac, they charged 150% more than Microsoft did for Word for Mac. Seriously.

      They then wondered why sales were so bad.

      Novell bought them, cut prices (you read that correctly, Novell actually CUT PRICES. Be still, my heart.) but couldn't stop the bleeding.They offered cheapish, for Novell, upgrades ($50 at first, to move to v3.2 for Mac...) but that didn't help much, and they started (horrors!) giving away free upgrades. Of course, you'd have had to have paid for a copy in the first place...

      Corel bought the mess; I'd suspect that the boyz at Novell. talked very fast and got the Corel reps very drunk, but that can't be, Novell, like WordPerfect Corp before them, was run by upright, uptight, Mormons who don't drink _coffee_, much less alcohol. However they managed it, though, the boyz at Novell sure saw the Canadians coming and escaped back to Utah leaving the dumpster fire on Canadian soil.

      Corel then tried to salvage things. On Windows, they tried to rebuild. They encountered formatting problems. For some reason, many, but not all, .DOC files would have odd formatting problems, such as being entirely bold and italic. No, I'm not joking. This particular problem _still crops up_, or at least did up to WP X8, the last version I tested. And WP X8 does it to .DOCX files, too. Sometimes. Ah, guys, y'all can't blame Microsoft for this, it's been TWENTY YEARS and multiple MS versions, and the boyz at OpenOffice and LibreOffice and Apple and many many more manage to handle .DOC and .DOCX files without this kind of problem... There's a fix. Well, two fixes: the one Corel likes, and the much simpler one I like: don't use WP.

      On Mac, Corel went full-on shotgun to foot. Remember how Novell had given away free upgrades? Well, that was good to WP 3.2 for Mac. WP 3.5 was Corel's first version (I think, it's been a long time) and it was a pay upgrade... which had serious bugs. WP 3.5e (yes, 'e'...) stomped most of the more prominent bugs... for a price. Yes, there was a pay upgrade to the bug fix of the pay upgrade. Corel wanted essentially full price to go to WP 3.5, plus another $50 to go to 3.5e. And, no, you couldn't go directly from WP 3.1 or 3.2 (Novell) to 3.5e, you _had_ to get 3.5 first, despite the known problems, and then upgrade to 3.5e, or you could just buy the full retail 3.5e package with no upgrade discount. (And don't even _think_ about upgrading from WP 1 to 3, WordPerfect Corp versions, you _have_ to buy the full retail package, no upgrade discount for you...) The sonic boom you might have heard was the sound of users hauling ass to Microsoft, Apple, Nisus, others, anything other than WP. If they were going to pay full freight, why would they pay full freight for massively buggy software from Corel when they could pay less for fewer bugs and better customer service from Apple and Microsoft and Nisus and others? (Things are bad when Microsoft offers a better 'user experience' than Corel did...) After a bit someone at Corel panicked, and overreacted: they stuck an updater which would take WP 3.2 to 3.5e on a free CD in one of the Mac magazines (MacAddict) _and_ they put that updater, for free, on.their website. Oops. Too late. Corel had so obliterated their reputation on Mac that they literally couldn't _give_ WP away. Corel walked away from the Mac market and hasn't been back. It'll be interesting to see how Parallels of Mac is treated. If Corel does a WP, again, I see a lot of new business in VMWare's future.

  9. Dabooka Silver badge

    Ah Corel Draw!

    How I loved that, messing around with vectors was full on futuristic compared to the bitmaps squares I was used to. See remember the hot air balloon on the box and the 348 floppies.

    I do also remember how Word 2 (?) emulated the Word Perfect shortcut keys, but I guess that doesn't count (unless I missed that lawsuit). I sure WP 5.1 was ctrl-p to print and Word was ctrl-shift-F12 but also responded to ctrl-p.*

    *Age is working against me here there may be some inaccuracies there but I'm sure my point is clear.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ah Corel Draw!

      The joys of the days of multi-floppy Corel installs... that moment of horror when you discover that one of the floppies is royally fscked and your only other copy is currently 300 miles away thanks to you forgetting to pack it..

      I'm still using Coreldraw (after all these years it's faster and easier for me to churn out artwork on it than on Illustrator..each to their own and all that...) though I think X7 will be my last version (seriously Corel?, X5 bugs fixed in X6, back in X7...what the fuckety fuck?)

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I used wordperfect 5.x at Uni in 1990 then the Uni migrated to windows 3.11 in 91 and that was that moved over to using Word2

  11. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    More importantly...

    What is a "golden egg chicken"????

    Sounds like a #42 from my local Chinese.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: More importantly...

      Sorry, I just translated directly from my language - it's obviously a reference to Aesop's "The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs" - just the story here is told usually about a hen/chicken instead of a goose.

  12. OffBeatMammal

    well, looks like it's days are numbered. I was wondering if I should migration from Fusion to Parallels recently as they seem to have a couple of features VMWare have not got around to copying yet but ... while I'm not a huge fan of Fusion it does the job well enough that I don't want to end up in the Corel bloatware world

  13. Wbd

    How odd!

    I use Parallels frequently... but did not realize Corel was still around!

    Dropping CorelDraw for non-Windows platforms probably made short term numbers sense, but it also killed them as any kind of player in the vector space.

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