StarOffice 8 may be getting the lions share of attention, but Corel insists that its WordPerfect Office is also a leading contender for office suites and that it will soon be supporting the OpenDocument format.
“WordPerfect Office is the clear leading alternative to Microsoft Office today—despite Suns download-based claims regarding StarOffice and OpenOffice,” said Greg Wood, communications manager for Corel WordPerfect.
“NPD sales numbers, a quantifiable, fixed measure of how many units of these alternatives are being purchased today, consistently show that WordPerfect Office is by far the leading alternative to Microsoft Office,” Wood said.
While Corel wont commit to a date for adding OpenDocument to WordPerfect, the company made it clear that it is working towards that goal.
“Corel is an original member of the OASIS Technical Committee on the OpenDocument format, and one of Corels senior developers is among the original four authors of the ODF specification,” said Wood.
“Suffice to say, Corel remains committed to working alongside OASIS and other technology vendors to ensure the continued evolution of the ODF standard and the adoption of open standards industry-wide,” Wood added.
Still, he said, “it is not appropriate at this time for Corel to disclose its plans for OpenDocument in future versions of WordPerfect Office.”
In recent years, Corel has revised WordPerfect Office on an approximately 18-month schedule. Were Corel to stick to this schedule, the next version of the program would appear early 2006.
In the late 80s and early 90s, WordPerfect was the dominant word processor program. However, this DOS-based program did not do well in converting over to Windows. With that and strong competition (illegal competition, according to Novell Inc.) from Microsofts Word for Windows, WordPerfect fell into a decline.
Recently, however, Corel has been trying to revive WordPerfect Office.
In 2004, Corel sold off or closed many of its other divisions and products to focus its resources under its new owners on its WordPerfect and CorelDraw Graphics divisions. The company has shown that its willing to put its resources where its PR is by adding an e-mail component, WordPerfect Mail, to its office suite.
The latest version of the office suite, WordPerfect 12 has also received good reviews. Corel has also landed sizable contracts for the program suite. In March, Corel won a 50,000-seat contract with the U.S. Department of Justice. Historically, WordPerfect has retained some of its popularity in the government and legal vertical markets..
With Massachusetts recent decision to adopt OpenDocument and PDF as the only acceptable document formats, Corel is hoping that it can ride this to greater sales according to a source close to the company.
However, WordPerfect, which has supported its program on Linux in the past, still has no concrete plans to bring WordPerfect Office back to Linux.
Still, “Corel is actively evaluating the market for Linux software with the goal of offering WordPerfect Office on Linux when it becomes profitable for us to do so,” said Wood.