A Big Blue Brother For Xywrite's Creator

XyQuest Inc. has long been well known in the publishing industry because its XyWrite word processing program mimics the Atex editing systems used by many magazines and newspapers. But the company, based in Billerica, Mass., could soon see its market expand far beyond traditional publishing. On Feb. 27, Fernand Sarrat, vice-president for IBM Desktop Software, announced that the computer giant has secured exclusive rights to market XyWrite IV, an as-yet-unreleased update of the word processing package.

The deal represents IBM's latest attempt to do well in the personal-computer software business. Under the agreement, both XyQuest and IBM will market the improved word processor, renamed Signature, for one year after its release. But after that, IBM will have exclusive rights to the program. While IBM will take on the sales chores, XyQuest says it will concentrate on developing new products. "That's what we're good at," says marketing manager Judith A. Mintz. "Otherwise, we'd be a lot bigger than we are now."

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