announcement Tuesday of a new corporate strategy is further evidence that the company’s promise to advance its Mac graphics products has not been derailed. However, the company has no plans to revive the Mac version of its WordPerfect productivity software, which it discontinued last year, said Ian LeGrow, Corel’s executive vice president of Creative Products.
“Corel is positioning itself for growth, and the area (where) we see that growth is in our creative products line,” LeGrow said. “Clearly we need to be strong where creative professionals lie, which is on the Macintosh platform. That’s where we’ve been concentrating our efforts over the past months.”
Stating that it must “prioritize, improve and prosper,” Corel on Tuesday announced a new corporate strategy that includes strengthening its WordPerfect word processing product for Windows, concentrating more on creative products, and selling its Linux operating system division while still developing WordPerfect Office and CorelDraw for Linux.
At Macworld Expo earlier this month, the company began to show the fruits of its work with the release of
Painter 6.1 and Mac OS X betas of
Bryce, which generates 3D landscapes, and
KnockOut, a masking tool designed for use with Photoshop.
LeGrow said Corel is moving forward with new releases of its software, including
CorelDRAW 10 this summer.
“In the May to September time frame, you’ll see new releases of Bryce, Painter, CorelDRAW, KPT and KnockOut all for Mac OS 9 and OS X,” he said.
CorelDRAW 10 is expected to be a major upgrade, being that the company did not release version 9 on the Mac. LeGrow said the software will be fully Carbonized and will support multiprocessing. The software will also include improved color management features and better PDF support.
The next KPT package will feature upgrades of some existing Photoshop plug-ins plus some new ones, including a Fluid Flow filter “I think will be very well received,” LeGrow said.
He confirmed that there has been no change in the status of WordPerfect for Mac, which Corel phased out in May 2000. It won’t be returning, he said, nor are there plans to sell the product to another company. Instead, the company will focus its Mac efforts on graphics products.
“We gave this a good deal of thought last spring and we looked at many options,” he said. “We’re standing behind that original decision.”
LeGrow said it would be difficult to find a buyer that could develop and maintain WordPerfect for Mac, although he did not say if Corel had explored the possibility with any companies.
Corel continues to evaluate new markets, though LeGrow would not specify any creative products that might be in the works. As part of the company’s new direction, it will seek more in-depth user feedback — a method called “Proof Pointing” — to determine customer needs and potential product areas. “(We’re) talking to customers and finding out what their workflows are, finding where the gaps are and seeing if we have existing technologies that we can leverage,” he said.
Echoing the pronouncement by Corel CEO Derek Burney that the company will not go head-to-head with Microsoft Word on the Windows platform, LeGrow said Corel would carve out its own niche versus Adobe Photoshop and other established graphics products.
“We’ve found many customers have both Photoshop and Painter, and there’s no problem with that,” LeGrow commented. Similarly, CorelRave, an animation tool bundled with CorelDRAW 8, doesn’t compete with Macromedia’s Flash software, but focuses more on graphic design than animation. “Flash is powerful, but is very difficult to use,” LeGrow said. “So we’ve taken the opposite approach and looked for ease of use in CorelRave.”
LeGrow said that Corel would boost its public profile — in contrast to last year, when it was undergoing serious financial problems — while spending its advertising and marketing dollars in a “responsible” manner. He confirmed that Corel would return to Macworld Expo this July in New York City.