Corel Refreshes WordPerfect, Drawing Tool - InformationWeek

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Corel Refreshes WordPerfect, Drawing Tool

The updated word processor, WordPerfect X3, sports two-way interoperability with PDF files; users can now pull PDF documents into WordPerfect documents.

Corel continues to nibble away at the Microsoft Office monolith. On Tuesday it launched major new releases of its flagship Draw graphics suite and the venerable WordPerfect brand.

The new word processor, WordPerfect X3, facilitates two-way interoperability with PDF files. "We can pull PDFs into WordPerfect. Before people could use it to create PDFs but now it's two-way," said Jason Larock, product director with Ottawa-based Corel.

Microsoft has made much of the fact that Office 12 documents can be saved to PDF format, but that move came only after much public agitation about Microsoft formats and Office 12 isn't due till later this year. It is also unclear whether Office 12 can import PDFs and allow rework.

Larock said Corel will also support the nascent OpenDocument format if customers demand it.

WordPerfect, which Corel acquired several years ago, still retains a following in legal firms and in government agencies.

WordPerfect Office X3 also adds a new e-mail client, and allows users to save their documents without metadata, an increasingly important factor in a security-obsessed world. Previously third-party products have been used to strip out metadata, that could show up earlier revisions, author information, and other details that document creators might prefer not to show.

The company remains an "innovative and entrepreneurial business partner although it is different than it was ten years ago for sure," said Harry Zoberman, executive vice president of ASAP Software, a large-account software reseller based in Buffalo Grove, Ill. "Corel is an innovative and entrepreneurial business partner."

Zoberman said it appeals to large government institutions—he estimates 40 percent of ASAP's Corel business is to public sector users.

Corel said WordPerfect is the leading alternative to Microsoft Office which, admittedly, owns more than 90 percent of the seats out there. "We love StarOffice and OpenOffice because they make a lot of noise," but when companies actually go to an alternative, Corel is the one they buy according to NPD data, Larock said.

CorelDraw Graphics Suite X3 targets both design professionals who need a production tool—sign makers, engravers "rather than abstract, creative-oriented people" said Denise MacDonnell, product director. The second target is the "occasional user" who needs professional graphics to repurpose designs coming in or who wants to do some tasks in house.

The company has integrated PowerTrace technology for easily converting bit map images into editable vector graphics, right into the suite.

Corel has focused on ease of use, easier discoverability of existing tools, and continues to cram more prepared clip art and reusable templates, for business cards and other oft-used documents, in the package.

The Draw suite retains its $399 SRP for new users and $179 upgrade price, "50 percent less than the Adobe Creative Suite," MacDonnell said.

WordPerfect Office Professional edition (with the word processor, Paradox database, Quattro Pro spreadsheet, presentation software, and e-mail) lists for $179 with volume licensing available.

Corel also wants to garner partners in the white box community, who want a cost-efficient alternative to Office, as well as VARs and other resellers.

"Having alternatives is important we believe as the industry continues to consolidate. On the Draw side, there's [the newly merged] Adobe/Macromedia and Draw and on Office side there's Microsoft and Corel," said Patrick Morley, executive vice president sales and marketing for the Americas.

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