Corel back on track – page 3 of 3
Previous Page Cowpland on... Microsoft In its competition with Microsoft, Cowpland is playing a high-volume, low-cost strategy. Corel sales went up in units in the last year in the US market, while Lotus has fallen to around two per cent of the market. Another part of the strategy is to offer in effect a light version free, and have a full version available for a fee. Cowpland would like Microsoft to be forced to use XML as a standard file format as one of the outcomes of the Microsoft trial. We asked Cowpland what other outcomes he would like to see from the Microsoft trial. He said he would like to see Microsoft not allowed to cross-bundle products. Small OEMs were unable to fight Microsoft, he noted, since if Microsoft chose to withhold Windows from them, it would take too long to get the DoJ to act and remedy the situation, so tough measures were needed. Cowpland also favours Microsoft being forced to publish and adhere to a price list. This would stop many Windows pricing deals that had an anti-competitive intention. Cowpland supported Scott McNealy's suggestion to The Register that Microsoft should not be allowed to do any more acquisitions. Cowpland said it was a critical-mass issue, and once that point had been reached, progress would be rapid. Cowpland observed that since the trial started, Microsoft has been more reasonable to deal with, and no longer demanded something like $100/copy for Windows if it does not like the OEM. The DOJ scrutiny has therefore proved useful already. Canadian Club With the shutting of the Utah operation inherited from Novell, the remaining WordPerfect developers are now consolidated in Ottawa with Corel's graphics team, which Cowpland sees as a significant advantage. Separate units only work if there is a single major centre, with some outworking by small groups for particular purposes. Cowpland is the major Corel shareholder with around ten per cent, so he was particularly pleased that the stock price was climbing again. Corel has a number of products coming to market now, so it seems that the present quarter will be profitable. Novell had decided some time back to liquidate its holding, which has been keeping the share price down, Cowpland noted. Last month, Corel acquired clip-art, photograph and Web images producer GraphicCorp for $10.3 million, in a deal that included a million shares of Corel stock at a guaranteed price of no less than $6.30 on 30 September. Cowpland said he is not concerned about meeting this requirement. Corel looks as though it could become a tough competitor for Microsoft if it can achieve critical mass. If it comes to a mano e mano, Microsoft should remember that Cowpland has a black belt in martial arts -- and played in the Wimbledon veterans finals. Now who's for tennis? ®
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