New publishing and graphics tools offered with the upcoming version of Corel's WordPerfect Office 2000 will attract both old and new users to the desktop application suite, according to Corel executives. The new suite, due out in North America in the second quarter of 1999, was unveiled at Comdex/Fall '98. WordPerfect Office 2000 will include four core applications: the WordPerfect 9 word processor, the full-featured Quattro Pro 9 spreadsheet, Corel Presentations 9 and CorelCentral personal information manager. Mike Cowpland, Corel's president and chief executive officer; Jim Orban, vice president of marketing; Derek Burney, senior vice president of engineering; and Stuart McCarthy, vice president of public relations spoke to IDG's Cheri Paquet and discussed the positioning of WordPerfect Office 2000 and key technology trends in the applications software market.
IDG: How will Trellix 2.0 benefit users of Corel WordPerfect Office?
Cowpland: Trellix is a recognised brand that has received rave reviews. It is a fantastic tool that is built right in to WordPerfect 2000 suite. Trellix 2.0 retails at about $US245 and the price of WordPerfect 2000, to be released this month, will be priced in line with previous versions of the suite.
What is the next step for future development of WordPerfect office suite?
Burney: For 2001, Corel will continue to focus WordPerfect 2000 on the Web. Clearly, the Web is a bottleneck area and publishing to the Web is a fairly complex procedure. Trellix 2.0 addresses the design bottleneck, and NetDocs addresses the publication bottleneck. Corel will continue to develop WordPerfect 2000 as a universal communication tool.
How does Corel see this most recent version of WordPerfect office suite stacking up against Microsoft Office?
Orban: WordPerfect's strength has been primarily its word processor. There are 22 million WordPerfect users in North America alone. With WordPerfect Suite 2000, we are targeting both former WordPerfect users and users of competitive products, such as Microsoft Office. We're doing this by taking a more open approach, expanding Corel's level of opportunity.
Cowpland: WordPerfect Suite 2000 is highly competitive in this space, featuring the voice capabilities of the Dragon NaturallySpeaking software, the publishing tools of Trellix 2.0, and it offers more powerful graphics. Quattro Pro addresses power users' needs for data analysis and spreadsheets. Quattro Pro has a strong reputation that makes a statement.
How does Corel view its relationship with Microsoft at this time - as a competitor or a collaborator?
Cowpland: On the technical side Microsoft is a collaborator and on the marketing side a competitor.
Why has Corel decided to back Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) at this time? Is it due to technology or user demands?
Cowpland: It is a result of Corel agreeing to be compatible. VBA has a huge installed base and it makes sense. Corel believes in being compatible with applications that are worthwhile.
What are your feelings about the Microsoft antitrust case?
Cowpland: Windows is a monopoly and that is not good for economy or for the US. That is anticompetitive behaviour and I can see why the US Justice Department is suing them. It is good that Linux is happening at the right time.
What about the Microsoft vs Sun Microsystems Java case?
Cowpland: That skirmish is a side-show at this point.
How has Corel changed structurally over the last year?
Cowpland: Corel has reversed its decision to form a separate company, Corel Computer Corp, and instead has formed a division of Corel that concentrates on hardware. We have also centralised Linux development in Ottawa.
Where do you think support for Linux is going?
Cowpland: Linux is snowballing now. Currently there are 3 million students enrolled in 40 schools in Mexico who are using the Linux operating system. It makes sense to use Linux, especially in the educational market. Linux is a valid alternative to Windows NT.
Has Corel been affected by the Asian crisis?
Cowpland: Not much, no. Corel's sales are very diversified.
How will Corel position itself in the future?
Cowpland: The company will be focusing on the agility of the team and continue to be an operation of excellence. The spotlight will be on Linux and it's really getting in front of the pack.