Corel Taps New Channel Chief

Chad Hoke comes to the Ottawa-based company from Best Software where he focused on Act and Peachtree Accounting products.

He characterized the change as being a leap one from one feisty underdog competitor to another.

"Best was very similar to Corel in a lot of ways," Hoke told CRN. "Best's small-business division is very much a No. 2 player up against giants—Intuit on the accounting side and Microsoft CRM on the Act side," he said.

Hoke said he is looking forward to continuing Corel's push to recruit more VARs and system builders to Corel's WordPerfect Office suite. In addition, Corel plans to offer Jasc's Paint Shop Pro lineup of image editing and digital photography software more broadly through channel partners.

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Jasc, which Corel bought last October, "drove about half of their licensed revenue direct. We're taking that and driving it through the VAR channel," he said.

Corel, which made its name with highly respected Corel Draw graphics software, in recent years acquired the venerable WordPerfect word processor and Quattro Pro spreadsheet from Novell. WordPerfect Office faces formidable competition from the Microsoft Office monolith, and the company tends not to pitch it as a direct competitor in enterprise accounts. It has gotten aggressive in SMBs by extending its VAR and system builder channels, however.

Rebecca Doremus, president of RST Computer Systems, a Daytona Beach, Fla.-based VAR and system builder, is extremely pleased with the WordPerfect suite and with her dealings with Corel in general.

She said Corel neutralized file-format compatibility concerns in its latest releases. There is no issue at all opening up Word documents in WordPerfect, she maintains. And she said solution providers and end users can set up the suite to look and feel just like Microsoft Office, eliminating retraining concerns.