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By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2004-05-10 Print this article Print

Mehta is also very clear about Corels target WordPerfect market: value-conscious customers, small and midsize businesses, and the government and legal communities. "Our value proposition to them is feature-rich, highly compatible software," he said. "Some 90 percent-plus of the tasks and documents a user will ever have to create can be done at 40 percent of what it would cost to do business with Microsoft. We are not the solution for large global enterprises and investment banks and those kinds of entities that have a superhigh level of technology requirements from their word processing solutions."

Margaret Brost, who runs her own legal business specializing in family law in Olympia, Wash., has been using WordPerfect since 1991, when it was the standard for law firms. "My area of practice is very document-intensive, and the administrator of the courts has mandated the specific formats to be used in all family-law cases. I was able to set up a Template Merge system that allowed me to merge these into documents and actually code within WordPerfect to automate our document production," Brost said.

Many law firms now use Microsoft Office and WordPerfect products simultaneously, Brost said, adding that WordPerfect 12, which was released last month, allows her to work in a familiar environment yet still interact with Microsoft users.

Mehta said Sun does not have the OEM and VAR distribution channels to match Corels. "Certainly, I am not writing them off, and we will make sure to remain three steps ahead of them. But, from a product, pricing and OEM perspective, Sun has not gained traction in the marketplace, and this links back to the compatibility and feature[s] of their product," he said.

Sun has distributed StarOffice software primarily through traditional retail and volume licensing outlets at a flat price, and it is included in the Santa Clara, Calif., companys Java Desktop System, which is available for an annual subscription.

Curtis Sasaki, Suns vice president of desktop solutions, said that OEM volume data shows that StarOffice and combined have surpassed 10 percent market share. "Most of the enterprise customers we talk to are comparing Microsoft Office 2003 versus StarOffice and making value judgments that way," Sasaki said.

In 2002, both Hewlett-Packard Co. and Dell Inc. agreed to offer Corels word processing package and spreadsheet application with some of their computer lines. Earlier that year, Sony Corp. also agreed to ship WordPerfect on a range of its PCs. But some of those deals have changed.

An HP spokeswoman said productivity software is not shipped with build-to-order notebooks, but Microsoft Office could be ordered with configure-to-order notebooks and is also available with HPs commercial desktops. The Palo Alto, Calif., company offers in Latin America. "HP also ships a very limited amount of commercial desktops with Corel WordPerfect," the spokeswoman said, declining to say if HP was considering changing its offerings.

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Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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