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Claris was a computer software company formed as a spin-off from Apple Computer in 1987. They were given the code and rights to several programs that had been written within Apple, notably MacWrite and MacPaint, in order to separate Apple's software and hardware divisions. Over the next few years the company would be variously pushed and pulled in different directions, before eventually divesting themselves of all of their products but one, and reforming as FileMaker Inc.

During the early days of the Macintosh computer, Apple shipped the machines with two basic programs, MacWrite and MacPaint, so that users would have a working machine "out of the box". However this resulted in complaints from 3rd party developers, who felt that these programs were good enough for so many users that there was little reason to buy something better. Apple decided to allow the programs to "wither", so that the 3rd party developers could provide something much better.

Unfortunately, this never really happened. Users complained about the lack of upgrades, and developers about any possibility of an upgrade. Eventually Apple decided the only solution was to spin off the products to a 3rd part of their own creation, forming Claris. They were also given the rights to smaller Apple products such as MacProject, MacDraw and AppleWorks.

At first Claris seemed to have the same problems as Apple with the products. Upgrades were trivial, limited to simply making the program continue to run on newer versions of the Macintosh operating system. However in the later 1980s they started a major upgrade effort, including a more modern and common user interface across the products, based on FileMaker Pro. The result was the "pro" series, MacPaint Pro, MacDraw Pro, MacWrite Pro and FileMaker Pro. In order to provide a complete suite they also purchased the rights to Informiz WingZ spreadsheet on the Mac, re-branding it as Claris Resolve, and added the new presentation program Claris Impact. The series was released over a period of about two years, by which time Microsoft had wrapped up much of the business market on the Mac, and most of the line sold poorly.

About this time Apple upper management decided that all software should be released through Claris, forcing them to take on HyperCard and the distribution of the MacOS itself. This proved to be a disaster, the OS was soon returned to Apple, and HyperCard was destroyed in the process.

In 1995 Claris purchased and released Claris Homepage, considered by many to be the best web-site creation package on the market. It was perhaps the only truly GUI-based what-you-see-is-what-you-get HTML editor, with all of the other products then available either being glorified text editors or placing tags in the editor that made it non-WYSIWYG. Other products added to the line included Claris Em@iler and Claris Organizer. These products were part of a new effort to diversify Claris and no longer chase the "office" market, which by this point was considered a lost cause.

It was around this time that the management decided that FileMaker was the only product worth keeping, and put all of the rest of the products on indefinite hold - no changes were made to them at all, not even to keep them working on newer versions of the MacOS. By 1997 the transition was complete and the company renamed itself as FileMaker Inc., and their only other major product, ClarisWorks, was sold back to Apple to become AppleWorks.

The rise and fall of Claris was seen by many as indicative of problems at that time within Apple as a whole. Unable to understand the marketplace, products were allowed to languish. When management finally realized they were sitting on what could be a goldmine, they started an upgrade series that resulted in products making it to market too late to be interesting any longer.