Corel sets WordPerfect update

Software maker Corel announced a new version Monday of its WordPerfect office software, marketing the package as a low-cost alternative to Microsoft Office for consumers and small businesses.

WordPerfect Office 12, set to go on sale in late April, includes new versions of the WordPerfect word processing application, Quattro Pro spreadsheet program and Presentations slide show software. Enhancements in the new product include a number of features aimed at improving compatibility with Microsoft Office, by far the dominant productivity package. A new Microsoft Office compatibility mode ensures that documents are automatically saved in Office formats and gives WordPerfect a look and feel similar to Office, said Richard Carriere, director of office productivity for Corel. "For the user, it's quasi-transparent whether they're using Microsoft Office or our product," he said.

"There is at least 10 to 20 percent of the market interested in some alternatives" to Microsoft Office, Carriere said. "The most important thing to them is to be able to communicate in a world where the standard is Microsoft formats." The new WordPerfect will be marketed primarily at consumers and small businesses, which are price-sensitive and have more leeway to switch products, Carriere said. "We recognize that for office suites, it's harder for a large organization...to switch away from Microsoft products," he said. "We have to recognize in all humility we're only a fraction of the size of the dominant player in the market."

Corel gained some ground on Microsoft two years ago, when a number of major PC makers began pre-loading WordPerfect on their low-end consumer models. Several manufacturers have since backtracked to Microsoft products, but PC leader Dell continues to use WordPerfect.

News source: C|net

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