Corel is attempting to beef up its European business to help it move back into profit next year.
Don Sylvester, Corel?s senior vice president of sales, said: ?We hope to be predictably profitable next year. We?ve moved to just-in-time inventory and we?re structuring for profits in 1998 by cutting back on discretionary spending such as marketing and communications. We?re just in the process of building our 1998 business plan now, but our profits will be based on the expectation of flat revenues in 1997 and 1998.?
He added that, while the UK was growing by 40 per cent year on year, European sales as a whole had only increased marginally this year. Nevertheless, he hopes to shift the US:rest of the world revenue split from 70:30 to 60:40 within the next year.
He expects to achieve this by hiring more professional services and sales staff for Corel?s main European subsidiaries in the UK, Netherlands, France and Germany.
Sylvester also outlined Corel's product strategy for its office applications.
He explained that Corel is adopting a ?coexistence strategy? with arch-rival Microsoft and has already introduced 50 per cent file compatibility between its own packages and Microsoft?s offerings, although this depends on the application and the file involved.
However, while he claimed that Corel was ?aggressively moving towards the goal of full compatibility?, he was unable to supply a deadline for completion of the task.
The delayed Enterprise Edition of the Perfect Office suite, which has been rewritten in Java to run on a server, is not now scheduled to ship until the first quarter of 1998, nearly nine months later than was first promised.
It will appear first under Windows NT because, Sylvester claims, ?most of our customers have NT?, followed by Sun Solaris, and finally the Java OS - both at unspecified points in the future.
A new data mining product, Corel Resero, will also find its way into the suite, although it will also be sold as a standalone offering. The product was developed specifically for United Technologies? Otis Lifts division, which wanted an offering that was easier to use than those currently on the market. Some 50,000 licenses are currently being installed at its offices across the world.
First customer shipments are due to start in November, and general availability is scheduled for February.
Sylvester also outlined the company?s plans for its next generation office suite, called Alta. The browser-based product, which also runs on a server, will comprise different Java applets such as spellcheck that are automatically downloaded to the desktop as required.
The software will provide dynamic load balancing and so will run elements of the application on the client or the server as appropriate.
Alta will also include so-called business management modules, including packages to automate and deal with processes such as expenses and purchasing, assets such as people and places, communications and workflow projects and tasks.
The offering will be targeted at the existing groupware and collaboration market and is due by summer next year.
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