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Corel – Cowpland faces Office situation

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Opinion is divided as to whether Corel will emerge from six successive quarters of losses. The third quarter's results, to be released in a couple of weeks, are also expected to show a loss, although CEO Mike Cowpland says that expectations will be exceeded -- and that the fourth quarter will be profitable. The cause of the Corel's woe is the competition from Microsoft's office suite, and the effect of the pre-announcement of the next version, Office 2000, on Corel's sales. In addition, competition in the graphics market is increasing. When Corel acquired WordPerfect from Novell, its selling expertise had been entirely in the retail market with its boxed graphics products such as CorelDraw. Corel has just released CorelDraw select edition, which is a scaled down version of the professional graphics suite. Peter van Heulen of Corel Benelux told me that Corel was going through a transition, and had set up sales offices in major European countries, to target equally the corporate and retail markets. Corel offers keener prices for its WordPerfect suite, and had caused Microsoft to reduce the price of Office in France, where Microsoft had been completely dominant and pricing Office at twice what it charged in the Dutch market, where WordPerfect was well established. A major hope for Corel is that its NetWinder Linux computers will capitalise on the new enthusiasm for Linux and Windows-free zones. The spec for NetWinder calls for a StrongARM SA110 processor at 275 MHz. A second version, later this year, will offer WordPerfect, according to vice president Ron McNab. Corel was hoping to float Corel Computer, a separate company, but decided against it and is now integrating the company with Corel Corporation. ®

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