RealTime IT News

Corel Happy To Step Into Microsoft's Shoes

When you think Corel, you think of its famous visual software -- CorelDraw, Corel PHOTO-PAINT and Corel's HoTMetaL PRO -- but after Wednesday, the company might just be as well-known in the office suite application arena with the launch of a new licensing program tailored-made to strike at the heart of Microsoft Corp. and its wildly-unpopular Software Assurance program.

Wednesday is the last day for users to buy software from the Redmond, Wash., giant and not fall under the new licensing scheme, which charges an annual fee for upgrades in the software application bought.

Companies around the U.S. have expressed their displeasure over the new licensing strategy, which Microsoft executives hope will bring in consistent revenue to the company coffers. According to an internetnews.com survey, 63 percent of those who responded said they were already evaluating a non-Microsoft alternative.

Corel Corp. hopes businesses owners and technology officers will look at its WordPerfect suite of applications, which provides Microsoft Office-comparable and -compatible applications.

The new licensing agreement doesn't have volume commitments and, more importantly, doesn't require an annual fee to upgrade. The Corel Transactional License option starts Thursday, the same day Microsoft's Software Assurance program launches.

The new licensing deal applies across the Corel product line, but is pitched with an eye toward Microsoft and its customers, said Gary Klembara, Corel executive vice president of sales.

"The purpose of this promotion is to reach out to Microsoft customers who are dissatisfied with Microsoft's enterprise agreement and offer them an alternative with terms we are confident they will appreciate," he said.

Like Microsoft Office, it has the business essentials: word processor, spreadsheet program, presentation program that uses Macromedia Flash for Web-based presentations, address book and e-mail client. Though it doesn't sport a database program, it features a .pdf creator and opens up Microsoft documents.

A price comparison weighs heavily in Corel's corner, too. At AtomicPark.com, Corel WordPerfect Office 2002 Standard edition runs $280 for the full version, a $92 difference from Microsoft's Office XP 2002 Standard edition.

The trick now for Corel executives is taking a bite out of Microsoft Office's 90 percent marketshare. Until the past year, Microsoft was relatively alone in the business suite application department.

Increasing displeasure over the high cost of software and the high number of software bugs has prompted other companies to step up development of a competitive product, companies like Lindows.com (a Windows-Linux hybrid) and the free OpenOffice.org (a free derivative of Sun Microsystem's once-free StarOffice).