Corel has revealed ambitious plans for the next version of its rival to Microsoft Office, WordPerfect Office 2002, promising it will persuade WordPerfect users to upgrade to the suite.
The Canadian software vendor, dogged all year by financial worries only to be rescued by Microsoft recently, has to persuade an army of loyal WordPerfect 5.1 users to upgrade their software. It's an army that is comfortable with its version of the software and regards it as 'better' than subsequent releases.
Dave Ludwick, director of product development for business applications at Corel, told reporters at the Comdex preview of the software suite: "WordPerfect Office 2002 is the best productivity upgrade for WordPerfect users since 5.1."
No final release date has been set for the product, but it is thought to be pencilled in for April 2001, with European language versions following in the summer.
It features WordPerfect, spreadsheet package Quattro Pro 10, slide show software Corel Presentations 10, and CorelCentral 10, a personal information manager. Many of the new features, some 70 per cent of them in fact, are said to be the result of consumer feedback.
Graham Brown, executive vice-president of business applications, said: "Today's preview demonstrates early evidence of our continued commitment to develop a suite that addresses our customers' priorities.
"WordPerfect Office 2002 will offer customers performance enhancements designed to increase their productivity; compatibility across applications to facilitate better collaboration; and choice through flexible licensing options and value-added extras like the electronic version of the Pocket Oxford Dictionary - the latest addition to our office suite."
Ludwick added: "The Pocket Oxford Dictionary is just one of the many added features and enhancements customers can look forward to in our upcoming release.
"Our goal throughout the development process has been to take the applications 'out of the way' so that our customers can work more efficiently and creatively whether they're working on a report, preparing a budget, scheduling a meeting or publishing a presentation over the web."
Corel said it would finalise release and marketing plans in January 2001.
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