The Learning Company

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The Learning Company
Basic Information
Company Type
Subsidiary Company
Parent company
[[Houghton Mifflin Harcourt]]

The Learning Company (TLC) is an American educational software company, founded in 1980. It produced a grade-based system similar to Knowledge Adventure's JumpStart series. The products for preschoolers through second graders feature Reader Rabbit, and software for more advanced students features The ClueFinders. The company also purchased the Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium. The company has corporate offices in San Francisco and Cedar Rapids, Iowa.[1]

The original The Learning Company was founded by Ann McCormick, Leslie Grimm, and Teri Perl, three educators who saw the Apple II as an opportunity to enhance the ability to teach young children concepts of math, reading and science, along with Warren Robinett, fresh from a stint at Atari. Part of the original funding for the company came from a National Science Foundation grant. Additional funding was provided by Jack Melchor, and Melchor Venture Partners, among others. The Learning Company first went public on April 28, 1992 - Morgan Stanley and Robertson, Stephens & Co. served as the lead underwriters. In 1995 TLC became the target of larger software firms interested in purchasing it. In that year a "bidding war" took place between Brøderbund and SoftKey, with the latter eventually acquiring TLC for $606 million in cash. SoftKey took up The Learning Company's name and continued acquiring other software companies including Mindscape, Inc. in March 1998 for $150 million and, ironically, former rival Brøderbund in June of the same year for $416 million. Mattel purchased the company in 1999 for $3.8 billion from the Canadian Entrepreneur Kevin O'Leary.,[2] renaming it "Mattel Interactive". It has been called one of the worst acquisitions in corporate history.[3] Mattel sold Learning Co. to Gores Technology Group, receiving $27.3 million for the unit. TLC, along with Brøderbund, is now a subsidiary of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; however, some of the acquired entertainment holdings were sold to Ubisoft.

As of December 17, 2008, TLC closed its online store, leaving their products to be found at retail stores and other online distributors.

Software[edit | edit source]

Reader Rabbit/ClueFinders series[edit | edit source]

Zoombinis[edit | edit source]

Super Solvers series[edit | edit source]

Carmen Sandiego series[edit | edit source]

Other games[edit | edit source]

Reference: The Gizmos & Gadgets! User's Guide Back Outside Cover

Continuity within game universes[edit | edit source]

While it may not seem like it at first, many of the series of games do, indeed, involve each other in subtle ways that the developers may just want to sneak in, or otherwise. The ClueFinders games, although part of the same product line, appear to be set in their own universe.

Locations[edit | edit source]

The primary locations of the Reader Rabbit series are in Wordville. On the Wordville map in the front of the Reader Rabbit 3 User's Guide, Treasure Mountain can be seen. This seems to suggest that the two worlds are located relatively close to one another. Another location is Shady Glen, at which all the Super Solver games take place.

Crossovers[edit | edit source]

  • Though Operation Neptune seems to be outside of the fantasy realm of the other games, one of the prizes in the Circus in Math Rabbit is the Neptune.
  • In one of the data logs found in Operation Neptune, one of the scientists references Ancient Empires as one of the ways the scientists on the space exploration journey like to pass the time.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Contact Us." The Learning Company. May 2, 2006. Retrieved on June 2, 2010.
  2. Larry Dignan (1998-12-14). Mattel/The Learning Co. in $3.8B merger. Ziff Davis.
  3. Abigail Goldman (2002-12-06). Mattel Settles Shareholders Lawsuit For $122 Million. Los Angeles Times.

External links[edit | edit source]

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