By now, if you’ve been paying attention (and there will be a quiz), you know all about the Apple/IBM deal and the two new companies, Taligent (the operating system spin-off) and Kaleida (the multimedia spin-off). We’ve just heard about an interesting side deal that can’t help but be related to the larger deals made by Apple and IBM. A few years ago IBM started the IBM Desktop Software Unit (IDS) to take over all of IBM’s software offerings for PCs and license other programs to create a industry-leading suite of PC programs. To put it bluntly, IDS failed. IBM is now trying to figure out what to do with IDS, and although we aren’t sure of its fate (and we don’t care all that much either), Claris has just acquired rights to market and distribute Hollywood, one of the best of IDS’s applications.
If you’re puzzled because you haven’t heard of Hollywood, that’s because it is a Windows desktop presentation application that shipped in the spring of 1991. Yup, that means that Claris is now officially a Windows developer with a shipping product and all. It’s much like adopting a child, I suspect. I recently saw Hollywood at a Windows seminar and was mildly impressed – it looked like IDS had done a decent job with it considering that it was from IBM and it ran under Windows. I’m also not generally into presentation programs, primarily because I seldom do presentations. It turned out though, that IDS had merely licensed Hollywood from the original developer, Publishing Solutions, Inc. (PSI), and PSI is, in press release-speak, "committed to continuing to evolve the product and will work collaboratively with Claris to do so." Gee, I wish I could write like that and sneak two redundancies into one sentence. 🙂
So the upshot (that’s a strange American term which means "basic idea" for those you who are confused by my language) of all of this is that Claris, and therefore Apple, is now in the Windows market. Claris claims that they are working with PSI to create versions of Hollywood for OS/2 and the Mac, an announcement which isn’t surprising given the deal with IBM even though the shipping date of OS/2 has slipped again. A Mac version of Hollywood will actually fit in with the rest of Claris’s products pretty well, although I believe MacDraw Pro has something of a presentation mode as well. Now all that remains for Claris is to ship Windows versions of MacDraw Pro, MacWrite Pro, and FileMaker Pro before those markets close up. I’m sure Mac chauvinists will be offended by the move, but on a practical level, working with the Windows market makes sense. If you can sell a lot of Windows software in addition to Mac software, people are more likely to use MacDraw on both platforms. Of course, the significant amount of money that Windows software could bring in has probably occurred to Apple/Claris executives as well.