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Communicator plan communicated

Corel clarifies its plan for building Netscape Communications' Communicator into its upcoming Office suites.

Corel (COSFF) today clarified its plans to integrate Netscape Communications' (NSCP) Communicator into its upcoming Office suites.

Corel announced in January that it had licensed Communicator--Netscape's upcoming browser, email, and groupware software--for integration into its business application suite.

The company said today that the first product of this marriage will arrive in June, when Corel releases the WordPerfect 8 suite with Office Central, a personal information manager based on Communicator technology.

The company will also release a beefier suite, Office Professional 8, in July that will feature the entire set of Communicator components, including email, browser, newsreader, and conferencing software.

Users who buy the WordPerfect 8 suite will be able to buy the rest of Communicator at an additional cost. The company has not yet determined how the additional components will be integrated when purchased separately.

"As soon as Netscape makes Communicator fully available, additional components will be available for a special price," said Corel product review manager Daniela Gaudert. A standard version of Communicator is due by April; a professional version will ship in the second quarter, according to Netscape.

Corel's Gaudert would not quote any specific prices, saying only that the suites will be similar in price to previous versions. WordPerfect 7 suite costs $395; Office Professional 7 costs $449. In addition to the Communicator components, the upcoming suites will feature Corel applications such as Paradox, WordPerfect, Presentation, and Quattro Pro. Final lineups for each suite have not yet been decided, Gaudert added.

Applications in both suites will retain the same file format as previous versions for full compatibility, unlike Microsoft's new Office 97 application suite. Users of previous Microsoft Office versions must download and install file converters to read and edit Word 97 files.

Corel is also preparing a slimmed-down office suite written entirely in Java.