Bitstream Inc. (NASDAQ:BITS) is a type foundry that produces digital typefaces (fonts). Founded in 1981 by Matthew Carter and Mike Parker among others, it claims to be the oldest such company. It is located in Marlborough, Massachusetts.
Besides building a library of "classic" fonts (usually under different names for trademark reasons), Bitstream has developed a number of fonts itself. The Bitstream font collection is most widely used through its inclusion with the CorelDRAW software. Bitstream also created the freeware Bitstream Vera family of fonts.
Another Bitstream product is Font Fusion, a font rasterizing engine developed jointly with Type Solutions, Inc., which is now owned by Bitstream.
The company had a high level of involvement in BeOS, with older BeOS releases using a now-outdated Bitstream renderer, and the latest development releases from 2001 using Font Fusion. The OS, including its freeware releases, included a large number of Bitstream fonts, including their clones of Times New Roman, Helvetica and Courier.
One of their best known fonts is Swiss 721 BT, which is a Helvetica clone with condensed versions and a rounded version that is closer to Comic Sans than a Swiss family font. It was among the first digitally available Swiss family typefaces, being designed for that purpose in 1982.
On December 2 1998, Bitstream Inc. announced acquisition of all outstanding stock of Type Solutions, Inc. In addition, Sampo Kaasila, founder and President of Type Solutions, Inc. (and creator of TrueType font technology), agreed to join Bitstream's team as Director of Research and Development, Type Solutions, to join John Collins, Bitstream's Vice President, Engineering and Chief Technology Officer, in leading Bitstream's research and development efforts for its type and technology products.
In January 2009, Bitstream introduced the BOLT Browser, a web browser for mobile phones including feature phones and smartphones that can run Java ME applications. The BOLT Browser is offered free of charge to consumers and is built using the company's ThunderHawk mobile web browsing technology for Mobile network operators and handset manufacturers.
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