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Corel cutting upgrade prices

Following the sub-$1,000 PC trend, the Canadian software maker plans to slash prices on a number of its desktop application package upgrades.

Following the sub-$1,000 PC trend, Canadian software maker Corel (COSFF) today said it plans to slash prices on a number of its desktop application package upgrades starting next week.

The next upgraded version of Corel WordPerfect Suite 8 will roll out at a retail price of $89, down $90 from today's $179, and Corel WordPerfect Suite 8 Professional will ship at a retail price of $179, down $60 from today's $249. These prices reflect the cost for previous owners of the product. The WordPerfect suite bought new costs $395, while the Professional suite goes for $329.

Don Sylvester, Corel's vice president of sales, said his company has seen a direct connection between the emergence of the sub-$1000 PC market and a trend toward declining software prices. "We are doing [these price cuts] deliberately to increase the unit sales of our product lines."

Executives said price cuts fit with the company's 1998 sales strategy, which aims to focus on core products in retail and key corporate markets. It is just one part of an overall strategy to become more profitable in 1998.

In January, the company announced a disappointing fourth-quarter loss as it moved to restate the first three quarters of the year.

Corel--which is changing its accounting practice to a more conservative method that will give greater visibility to sales of its two core products, Corel Draw and WordPerfect--will incur a revenue reduction of $33 million for the three quarters combined, as well as a higher loss of $20.7 million for the nine-month period.

The desktop applications suite includes WordPerfect, Quattro Pro, Corel Presentations, and other productivity applications.

In related news, Corel said it will feature Dragon's speech recognition technology into WordPerfect Suite 8 in April. That means users will be able to write, edit, and format documents by talking into their computers rather than typing.