Corel to beef up corporate focus

Corel is ringing the changes again with fundamental changes to its organisation, sales channels and product focus.

The Canadian firm said today it is setting up a Corel UK operation that expands the role of its Reading, Berkshire local sales office and gives the local country manager a greater degree of autonomy, according to the firm. The UK manager is Peter Harborow who said that one of his first tasks will be to expand Corel's corporate sales force, in particular to push the WordPerfect application suite and future Java enterprise products.

"We're getting back the sales force Novell destroyed," said Paul King, VP international sales at Corel, referring to Novell's mismanagement of WordPerfect, which it acquired and largely sold to the Canadian firm in short order. "Novell hurt [the WordPerfect] image in the marketplace and now we're re-focusing on the corporate side of the business."

Corel plans to spotlight WordPerfect for Windows NT, Java and Unix and intends to support the Microsoft Word DOC format to enhance interoperability in a release scheduled for early 1999.

"We believe there is a market for the application clone in the same way that there is a market for the PC clone. We will co-exist with Microsoft because the file format will be the same," King said.

Separately, King said Corel has no intention on giving up on its Java development that has been hampered by delayed release dates and problematic development.

However, he said Corel still plans to commercially release a suite of Java applets that have been re-engineered for better performance.

"The first time we realised we needed to get more speed. There was too much volume going down the pipe and we needed smaller code objects," King said.

Hardware subsidiary Corel Computer also plans a commercial release of its much-delayed NC product in the July-September quarter this year. About 1,000 units are currently being evaluated by customers.

In May, Corel will ship a new version of WordPerfect Suite 8 that includes Dragon's Naturally Speaking dictation software and a microphone for use in the word processor application.

Corel CEO Mike Cowpland is expected to firm up shipping dates in an announcement scheduled for the CeBIT show next week in Hanover.