CEO lays out plan for Corel

CorelDraw was the Ottawa company's flagship product until the purchase of
Novell Inc.'s PerfectOffice suite, including WordPerfect, in 1996. Corel also bought the
Paradox database manager from Borland International Inc. that year, having licensed it
earlier.


An engineer by trade, Cowpland received a doctorate in engineering from
Carleton University and cofounded Mitel Corp. The 53-year-old native of Sussex, England,
plays squash and tennis, has a black belt in martial arts and competes in triathlons.


GCN associate editor Bill Murray interviewed Cowpland during a recent trip
to Washington.


GCN: How will Version 8 of
Corel's Office Professional suite differ from Version 7?


COWPLAND: We've got very tight integration between applications,
including Paradox.


It has a Property Bar, which we've used in CorelDraw. This is
context-sensitive, so depending on what you're doing, you see all the parameters of the
objects involved. We've found this has particularly improved Quattro Pro and Paradox. You
can do in one click many functions that take two to four clicks in Microsoft Excel.


Office 8 is tightly integrated with Netscape Communications'
Communicator browser. We're looking at the same pricing as for the current suite: $100
street price for the upgrade.


GCN: How are you doing
against Microsoft Corp. in the office suite market?


COWPLAND: We think that during the last 12 months we've more than
quadrupled our market share. When we took over WordPerfect, it was estimated to have 4
percent of the office suite market. Worldwide, we're at 20 percent now. In U.S. retail,
we've been at more than 50 percent for more than four months in a row and holding steady.


GCN: What are you doing
with Java?


COWPLAND: Office for Java is a 100 percent-pure Java application.
We have WordPerfect, Quattro Pro, Presentations, even Paradox being developed in pure
Java. In pure Java, you can run the servers in Java as well as the clients. It's the only
suite out there like that.


GCN: What's happening with
your video network computer?


COWPLAND: We're forming a 100 percent-owned subsidiary to make a
powerful network computer with 32M of RAM and two PC Cards.


We decided not to worry about the personal digital assistant
market until later, when there's more clarity about the form factor. There's been a lot of
confusion with the [U.S. Robotics] PalmPilot and the Windows CE [operating system for
handhelds].


GCN: Aren't new software
suites like yours taking up too much memory for most PCs?


COWPLAND: Not really. Most people don't buy software for existing
machines, they buy it for new machines. When you buy a computer, you get a 2G drive at a
minimum, so the hard drive's not a problem.


Java will be nice for existing machines, because it divides the
power between the server and the clients.


Even if you've got an underpowered old machine, you can run a
modern application that has fancy features like drag and drop, because the computations
can be done on the server.


This can help salvage a lot of the existing hardware out there.
We estimate there are 310 million seats, and only 70 million have Microsoft Windows 95.
There's MS-DOS machines, Window 3.x, OS/2 and other platforms. Office for Java runs on all
of those. This could help big organizations deploy, say, training applications across all
their platforms.


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