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Monotype buys Ascender

Written by Luc Devroye
McGill University
Montreal, Canada
lucdevroye@gmail.com
http://luc.devroye.org
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December 8, 2010: Monotype buys Ascender (which has 12 employees) for 10.2 million dollars in cash and stocks. Most employees will keep on working in the Chicago area for Monotype, so the press release says. Excerpts extracted from the technobabble document: The acquisition enables Monotype Imaging to broaden its font intellectual property offerings and gain significant typeface design and development talent. [...] Ascender is passionate about type and understands its power to secure brand trust, engage everyday communication and enhance creativity, said Doug Shaw, president and chief executive officer at Monotype Imaging. (another beauty) [...] Ascender's e-commerce stores include AscenderFonts.com, which offers thousands of high-quality TrueType and OpenType fonts for design professionals; FontMarketplace.com, which targets creative enthusiasts using Microsoft Office and other applications; and Ascender's FontsLive subscription service, which allows designers to use high-quality Web fonts for Web page design. (They forgot to mention the scrapbooking and Christmas fonts collections) [...] All 12 Ascender employees are joining Monotype Imaging, with most working from Ascender's headquarters near Chicago. In his new role as Monotype Imaging's vice president and general manager of Display Imaging, Ira Mirochnick will report to John Seguin, executive vice president. Mirochnick brings more than 20 years of experience in building and running successful font-related businesses.

My reaction? Good riddance. It proves that even in the font world, anyone can build up a small business in six years and then cash in. Hats off to Ascender for having done just that. But their contributions to font design per se and to font software have been rather modest, unless someone finds Droid beautiful (can we have a show of hands?) or agrees that it was just fine for Ascender to develop the Frutiger clone called Segoe.

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Luc Devroye ⦿ School of Computer Science ⦿ McGill University Montreal, Canada H3A 2K6 ⦿ lucdevroye@gmail.com ⦿ http://luc.devroye.org ⦿ http://luc.devroye.org/fonts.html