November 28, 2000

Applix gives up on the Linux desktop

Author: JT Smith

Appplixware is arguably the most stable and mature Linux office suite
available, but it will no longer be aggressively marketed as a desktop product,
according to VistaSource Marketing VP R.J. Grandpre.VistaSource is a wholly-owned
subsidiary of Applix
(NASDAQ: APLX) that was formed specifically to market
Applixware products
.

Despite a recent price cut for the Applixware Office package from $99 per copy to $49, it couldn't compete in the marketplace with Sun's
StarOffice,
which costs nothing. And with KOffice -- also free -- rapidly becoming mature and stable enough to
be useful for everyday work, it was time for Applix to
throw in the desktop towel. "We typically come out on top when compared to StarOffice," Grandpre says, "but it has been impossible to
differentiate ourselves enough to get people to pay for Appplixware when they can get [other Linux office suites] for free."

Future Applix products will concentrate on the servserside marketplace. An online demo version of the next generation of "Web-enabled"
Anyware
Office
, which works on any operating system, is scheduled to be available through the VistaSource website
"in a couple of weeks," says Grandpre. A current version is available now; Grandpre says the new one will incorporate a "smaller and more
stable Java applet that will be surprisingly fast to download and run through all but the slowest connections.")

Adobe has apparently withdrawn its plans to release a
commercial version of Framemaker for Linux, but this may be a result of the beta version's poor reception by testers rather than lack of
faith in Linux.

Corel's relationship with Linux is also in doubt; but this may reflect
Corel's internal problems rather than problems with the Linux.
software marketplace.

Besides, Grandpre speculates, the current lack of a solid market for commercial Linux applications may not last. "It could come
full circle in two or
three
years," he say, with commercial Linux desktop applications becoming "hot" again as the operating system increases its penetration of the
home and office desktop marketplace, and more end users who are accustomed to buying shrinkwrapped software, rather than downloading free,
GPL-licensed
applications software, start using an increasingly user-friendly Linux as their everyday desktop operating system.

Category:

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