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Corel redrawing itself as more Mac friendly

While Adobe Systems is largely skipping Macworld Expo, rival Corel is using the Mac trade show to try to reinvent itself.

    NEW YORK--While Adobe Systems is largely skipping Macworld Expo, rival Corel is using the Mac trade show to try to reinvent itself.

    On Wednesday, Corel said it is grouping several of its graphics programs under a new brand, Procreate, in an effort to remake its image in the minds of graphics professionals, many of whom use the Macintosh. Corel also launched on Wednesday the first title under the Procreate brand, Painter 7, a new version of its program used for image creation and editing.

    "The Corel brand is very powerful, but not in all segments for all people," CEO Derek Burney told CNET Speaking on the sidelines of the Mac trade show here, Burney said his company is looking to rebuild a relationship with Mac fans, who see Corel as a PC-focused company.

    Coincidentally, Apple Computer's ad slogan for its new Power Macs is "Pro create." A number of large Apple banners hung throughout the show floor bear the phrase.

    Although in the past Corel has released Mac versions of its software roughly six months after the PC versions, Burney pledged to release new products simultaneously for the Mac and other operating systems.

    Burney said the announcement of the Procreate brand and the deal announced Monday to purchase graphics-software maker Micrografx represent the first positive moves for a company that has been on the defensive.

    "It's the first step in our growth strategy," Burney said. "For the last year or so, we've been making cuts."

    Corel announced a restructuring plan in January, saying it would focus on core products such as the WordPerfect Office desktop suite and the CorelDraw program, as well as on products specifically for the Mac market.

    Burney, who was named Corel's CEO in October, said he "definitely" plans to make more acquisitions.

    "It's a good time with the market being depressed," he said, "but you don't want to grow too fast."

    Burney, who was named interim CEO after the resignation of founder Michael Cowpland, was elevated to the permanent CEO role one day after Microsoft announced a $135 million investment in the company.

    While Burney spoke of Corel as being OS-agnostic, he had little to say about Linux, the operating system that was once a key focus of the company.

    "We're keeping an eye on it," Burney said. "Wherever it makes sense to do (a Linux version), we will."

    Burney's pitch to graphics professionals comes at an opportune time. Market leader Adobe is not setting up a booth at Macworld because of cost concerns and has yet to offer a firm timeline for Mac OS X versions of several key programs.

    However, it was Adobe--not Corel--that Apple CEO Steve Jobs had on stage as part of his demonstration of Mac OS X programs under development during his keynote speech earlier Wednesday.

    "It would have been nice to see our applications in the '10 on X' instead of all the (Adobe) betas," Burney said.