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Corel Hopes New Application Will Help Stem Losses

Corel readies graphics-collaboration app for Tablet PC; software vendor also reports big third-quarter loss.

Corel Corp. says it will introduce a hybrid graphics and collaboration application for the Tablet PC, the forthcoming booklike portable-computing device based on a special version of Microsoft Windows. Corel's Grafigo software is designed to let users take advantage of the Tablet PC's pen-based input capabilities to collaborate with co-workers and partners via handwriting or sketching. The application also lets users mark up and read documents using a symbol library.

Quick adoption of the Tablet PC and related apps could give Corel a much-needed boost. Last week, the company posted a $59.1 million third-quarter loss after taking a $50.5 million charge to write down goodwill. Without the write-down, the company reported a loss of $8.6 million on revenue of $31.3 million. In the year-ago quarter, Corel, best known for its WordPerfect and CorelDraw packages, reported $34.2 million in revenue and net income of $500,000.

For quick adoption to happen, the Tablet PC must function as promised. An executive at one major PC maker, who asked not to be identified, says his company has yet to decide whether to offer the device, noting that Microsoft hasn't demonstrated a Tablet PC operating system with properly functioning handwriting technology.

Still, a number of hardware makers have committed to selling the devices when Microsoft releases the operating system in November, including Fujitsu PC Corp. and Toshiba. Other software vendors on board for the launch include Adobe Systems Inc. and SAP.

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