Corel Makes Some WordPerfect Noise, DOJ Opts For Corel, Not Microsoft, Office

The DOJ, which engaged in a long-running anti-trust battle with Microsoft over the latter's business practices, was already a WordPerfect shop, although some Microsoft Office is run as well, according to a Corel spokeswoman.

The new license deal is worth "eight figures" although Corel did not specify further. The license is being fulfilled via partner SoftChoice.

The WordPerfect word processor has traditionally been strong in legal markets and in government agencies, although Microsoft Word eroded its overall dominance as the world moved from DOS to Windows in the 1990s. WordPerfect was subsequently taken over by Novell and then the word processor was sold to Ottawa-based Corel in 1996.

WordPerfect Office 12 bundles the word processor, the Quattro Pro spreadsheet, and Presentations packages.

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In related news, Corel has promoted Blaine Mathieu to the post of vice president of channel marketing. Mathieu had been director of strategy and market intelligence for the Ottawa-based company. He will work closely with Chad Hoke, Corel's vice president of channel sales.

Corel's WordPerfect and PaintShop franchises are "the branded alternatives" to Microsoft and Adobe products, Mathieu said.

"We can offer a much lower SRP with programs that are just as stable and feature rich and that don't require small businesses to buy into a server solution," he noted.

Indeed, Microsoft which leads the productivity applications market with what many think is 90 percent or higher market share, is turning more and more to Office-labelled servers that feed functionality and services to its Office desktop applications. That move is seen as an attempt to boost migrations to the most recent Office 2003 lineup.

Microsoft Office also faces a challenge from both StarOffice and OpenOffice.

Corel hopes it can wrest some share away from Microsoft especially in small businesses and education markets.

At CMP Media's Solution Provider XChange conference this week in New Orleans, Corel will role out a new lead-sharing program for VARs focusing on the legal market. "We will use our phone sales force to generate leads and pass them on to our VAR partners," Mathieu said.

Corel will also tout an aggressive plan to push Corel applications into the K-12 education market. "A whole school can get a site license for under $2,000," he said. The actual cost is $1,750 for any of the core applications.

Corel's new Partner Insight Initiative aims to align Corel employees, including sales people, with partner needs. "Our employees are doing partner call audits, in-store visits and online store audits," Mathieu said. The program is built from the ground up for partner satisfaction, he said.

At Xchange Corel will also introduce Paintshop products targeting small-business VARs. With the sale of ten licenses, one license is free. Paintshop competes with Adobe PhotoShop.

Daniel Wechsler, president of Diskovery Educational Services, West Palm Beach, Fla. is cautiously optimistic. "The educational site license is very aggressive. It makes it very simple for a school to buy at a set price," he sadi.

Wechsler said Corel has made headway convincing partners that the products are in safe hands after being moved from company to company in the past decade.

"Quattro Pro, Painter, WordPerfect are powerful programs but they kept getting bounced around. Now Corel is giving them some stability," Wechsler said.