Corel aims for enterprise with Java groupware

Corel today took a giant step toward the corporate world when it detailed ambitious plans to bring Java to the enterprise.

CEO and chairman Michael Cowpland said the Canadian firm is moving into "phase two" of its Java plans, renaming its Office for Java product CorelCentral and adding a communications hub to the product with universal inbox, the ability to assign and manage tasks, workflow monitoring and an OS-independent application serving architecture based on Visigenics Software's ORB technology.

Cowpland said ORB will offer technology similar to Citrix's WinFrame but with a lower bandwidth demand and faster performance. Corel terms the CorelCentral technology 'GroupWebWare' and plans to sell it through integrators as well as off its own bat. ORB will run Windows, Macintosh and Unix applications but Corel will optimise its WordPerfect, Paradox, Quattro Pro and Presentations to enhance performance.

Cowpland said Corel would before the end of the year be able to offer software with functionality equivalent to Microsoft Office but on a far broader range of platforms and without the requirement to upgrade hardware. "By December we'll be able to offer fully-fuctional software for thin clients. NCs are great devices but they haven't had the software to make them attractive," he said.

Corel was "heading towards a 50/50 split" where research and development dollars would be evenly divided between Windows and Java, Cowpland said. Corel currently spends about 30 per cent of an $80 million R&D budget on Java, he added.

Separately, the firm said "a few hundred" of its Corel Computer NC products will ship in October and general availability is expected before the end of the year.