Corel, Microsoft Ready Office Suites

The office desktop productivity suite wars are heating up.

The office desktop productivity suite wars are heating up, with Corel Corp. on Wednesday unveiling the first beta of WordPerfect Office 11, which is expected to be available in North America late next month.

For its part, Microsoft Corp. next week is expected to release the second beta for Office 2003, formerly code-named Office 11, which is due for final release by mid-year.

Both Microsoft and Corel products include XML integration. WordPerfect Office 11 will give users the ability to publish slideshows, spreadsheets and WordPerfect files to XML; enhance existing file-sharing options; and support the deployment of content to multiple devices, said Graham Brown, executive vice president of software development for Corel.

New file-sharing capabilities include publish-to-PDF features in WordPerfect and Presentations, suite-wide publish-to-HTML capabilities, support for the Open Document Management API, and a new conversion utility to batch convert files from formats including Microsoft Word and RTF.

WordPerfect 11 also maintains the same file format from versions as far back as 6.1-11, providing seamless access to legacy data, while new e-mail document routing capabilities and Microsoft Outlook address book connectivity will let users collaborate via Microsoft Outlook.

"Our new ZIM SMS Office integration with Quattro Pro now allows users to update spreadsheets remotely via cell phone," Brown said.

Microsoft Corp.s Office 2003 will come with XML support baked into Word, allowing users to, among other things, more effectively mine their data. Built-in support for XML will allow developers to create "smart" documents that automatically search for code or updates as needed.

In addition, the software will allow developers to use Word as a development platform to create XML templates and solutions, as well as to re-purpose content with database and Web service interaction, Jeff Raikes, Microsofts group vice president of productivity and business services, told eWEEK in September.