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February 4, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

Claris Corp launched its European operations yesterday just nine months after its inception as a software subsidiary by Apple Computer. Products will initially be distributed in the UK through Apple but talks are under way to find an independent distributor. Meanwhile Claris is on the lookout for a UK manager with a view to becoming a totally independant company by the end of the year. Speaking at the launch John Zeisler, vice president of marketing, said he hopes to see products entirely developed by Claris – it currently markets enhanced versions of Apple’s MacDraw, MacProject, MacWrite, MacPaint and AppleWorks – emerging some time in the early 1990s. Although reluctant to give details, he said the company would concentrate on business, engineering and communications: Claris is anxious not to cover old ground and is working on new ways to apply computer technology. Zeisler sees SmartForm Designer and Manager – two new products from Clearview Software Inc of Providence, Rhode Island (CI No 843) – as prime examples of this. They integrate database, graphics and communications capabilities for the forms market, currently worth $6,000m in the US. He is also aware of a move away from individual personal computers to workgroups and says the products should reflect this in their architecture. In the short term Claris will acquire core technologies to build on thereby cutting the time down between embarking on a product and getting it to market. If the technology is embedded in a product then it will buy that product. In the event of a product being the sole business of a company Claris is prepared to take it over to get to the technology. Zeisler points out however that the Mountain View, California-based company is not interested in buying people out for the sake of it. It would very much depend on how important it was to get a product out on to the market. New products are being analysed at the moment in areas that have previously been overlooked. Since Apple began shipping HyperCard – a graphics-based tool for managing and accessing information with every Mac it sells in the US, Ziesler says he’s had the impression that people think of it as a software application which should therefore be managed by Claris. Although it wasn’t one of the products Claris inherited it is used in software demonstrations and as a tutorial. Eventually Zeisler hopes it can be integrated with all Claris products. Claris also has outlets in France through Paris-based P Engineering, in Japan with SystemSoft and with Apple in Australia and Canada.

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