After nearly two years in development, Corel WordPerfect Office 2000 hits store shelves today offering a set of applications for the desktop including word processing package WordPerfect 9, Quattro Pro 9 spreadsheet package, Corel Presentations 9 for use in creating slide shows and drawings, personal information manager CorelCentral 9, Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications, and Web site creation agent, Trellix 2.
WordPerfect Office 2000 also includes the new Corel RealTime Preview which allows users to be able to view formatting changes, such as text size or font style, before they are actually applied.
The company said compatibility with other applications has been enhanced as well. A number of formats can now be easily imported and exported into WordPerfect Office 2000 applications. This includes Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents, Lotus documents, and Internet standards HTML and XML.
"We built this release on performance compatibility and value," said Frank Tomei, product manager of WordPerfect 2000. "We understand the need for compatibility, not just with Internet standards, but with Microsoft Word and other applications as well."
Tomei said a Linux version of WordPerfect Office 2000 is expected by the end of the year. WordPerfect 8 is the company's current Linux desktop product.
The new product is just part of a larger wave of product announcements expected from the Ottowa-based software company which is in a toe-to-toe battle with Microsoft and Lotus in the desktop productivity market space, in which Microsoft holds a commanding lead.
"They're filling a set of niches," said Rob Enderle, an analyst with Giga Information Group. "Taking on a lot of different verticals, like graphics and publishing. This new version is full featured and aggressively priced, which is good."
Corel has been plagued by a number of low quarterly results marking a significant lag in sales of its software products. Reuters reported last month that Corel slipped into the red for the first quarter of fiscal 1999, something the company had expected.
The loss came on the heels of a profit in its fourth quarter, a rare feat of late. In the three month-period ended November 30, 1998, Corel reported net income of $6.8 million, or 10 cents a share.
Corel has posted heavy losses since acquiring office software suite maker WordPerfect in 1996 and doing battle with industry leader Microsoft.
The poor quarterly results gave rise to persistent rumors that Corel had been approached with a takeover offer by California-based Adobe Systems. Corel management has denied that the company had been a takeover target for Adobe, the world's largest maker of digital publishing software.
Despite the rumors and quarterly results, Corel's flagship WordPerfect office suite has 22 million U.S. users, up 10 percent in the last 12 months, compared with 44 million for Microsoft's rival product Word, the company said.
In an effort to boost sales of its software, Corel announced an agreement last month with PC Chips, a major manufacturer of PC motherboards, a deal that means Corel's WordPerfect suite of business software programs will be sold with PCs from manufacturers using PC Chips' motherboards.
The PC Chips and other similar deals are aimed at building Corel's installed base of users, with the hopes of eventually upgrading them to WordPerfect Office 2000, Corel said.
Pricing for the new version is $99 for the standard version, $149 for the voice powered version and $199 for the professional version, the company said. All prices are estimated street prices.