Bitstream Inc.

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Bitstream Inc.
Industry Type foundry, Mobile phone web browsers
Fate Acquired by Monotype
Founded 1981
Defunct March 19, 2012 (2012-03-19)
Key people
Amos Kaminski, Chairman and Interim CEO
Number of employees

Bitstream Inc. is a now-defunct type foundry that produced digital typefaces. Founded in 1981 by Matthew Carter and Mike Parker among others, it claims to be the oldest such company. It was located in Marlborough, Massachusetts. The font business, including MyFonts, was acquired by Monotype Imaging in March, 2012.[2][3] The remainder of the business, responsible for Pageflex and Bolt Browser, was spun off to a new entity named Marlborough Software Development Holdings Inc.[4][5]


Besides building a library of "classic" fonts (usually under different names for trademark reasons), Bitstream developed a number of fonts on its own. 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 was later owned entirely by Bitstream.[6]

One of their best known fonts is Swiss 721 BT, which is a Helvetica clone with condensed versions and a rounded version. It was among the first digitally available Swiss family typefaces, being designed for that purpose in 1982.


The company had a high level of involvement in BeOS, with older BeOS releases using a 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.

On December 2, 1998, Bitstream Inc. announced acquisition of all outstanding stock of Type Solutions, Inc. In addition, Sampo Kaasila, its founder and president and the creator of TrueType, agreed to join Bitstream's team as Director of Research and Development.

In March 2000, Bitstream launched MyFonts, an open marketplace offering fonts from various foundries.

In January 2009, Bitstream introduced the BOLT Browser, a Java ME-based Web browser for mobile phones. It was distributed free of charge to consumers and was built using the company's ThunderHawk mobile Web browsing technology for mobile network operators and handset manufacturers. The product was discontinued by the end of 2011.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Company Profile for Bitstream Inc (BITS)". Retrieved 2008-10-21. 
  2. ^ "Monotype Closes Purchase Of Bitstream's Font Business For $50 Mln; Lifts FY View". Market Headlines web site. NASDAQ. 2012-03-19. Retrieved 2012-03-26. 
  3. ^ "Monotype Imaging Completes Acquisition of Bitstream's Font Business". press release. Monotype Imaging. 2012-03-19. Retrieved 2012-03-26. 
  4. ^ "Monotype acquires Bitstream's font business in $50m all cash deal". PrintWeek. Haymarket Business Media. 2011-11-14. Retrieved 2012-03-26. 
  5. ^ "Marlborough Software Development Holdings Inc. to Commence Trading on Over-The-Counter Bulletin Board on March 19, 2012 Under the Symbol "MBGH."". press release. Bitstream, Inc. 2012-03-16. Retrieved 2012-03-26. 
  6. ^ "Bitstream". Web site. Bitstream, Inc. 2010-03-02. Retrieved 2010-03-02.