Corel signs 'Perfect' agreement

Corel has signed a major deal with a motherboard manufacturer that could see its WordPerfect software end up in millions of off-brand "white-box" PCs.

The Canadian software company's agreement with PC Chips Group calls for a special version of the WordPerfect Suite 8 to be included on a jointly labeled CD with every computer containing a PC Chips motherboard.

PC Chips Group is a motherboard maker that supplies parts to PC makers in more than 30 countries. The company shipped 15 m motherboards in 1998, and expects that number to hit 18 m this year. "The sheer scale of PC Chips' reach makes this Corel's largest OEM opportunity to date, and one that will be hard to surpass," Corel CEO Michael Cowpland said in a release. "This will make Corel a leader in business productivity applications in the sub-$1,000 PC market."

While the deal does not gain Corel placement with any marquee brands, it does gain Corel widespread placement in so-called "white box" systems: PCs put together by resellers or retailers using industry standard parts.

PC Chips motherboards are available in the US from brands including ECS, Astral, PC Wave, PC Ware, and PC Max, in Canada from 3D Micro, and in Europe from Protac.