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Corel

Gateway To Use Corel Over MS For Office Suite 350

djellusion writes "Dealing yet another blow to Microsoft, Gateway has announced that it will be using Corels Wordperfect office suite instead of Microsoft Office. I can only see this as a good thing because friendly competition creates drive for better(less clippy) products. Can I order my system with no office suite please?"
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Gateway To Use Corel Over MS For Office Suite

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  • by NightWhistler ( 542034 ) <alexNO@SPAMnightwhistler.net> on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @06:57AM (#4460562) Homepage
    Must refrain from making yet another OpenOffice plug... must be strong... concentrate...
    • Must refrain from blowing my top because people are assuming that the rest of the world can deal with their files in yet another format...
      • must refrain from reminding you that openoffice can read/write Word documents so no one needs to deal with another format
        • by pyr0 ( 120990 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @08:38AM (#4461086)
          Well, this is somewhat true. However, I've had many an occasion when I tried to open up a word document with OpenOffice, and it mangled all the graphics. I then had to spend a long time fixing hte document so it looks right in OO. Text always converts fine for me, but when you're involved in a research group where M$ word documents with graphics are being exchanged regularly, OpenOffice just doesn't cut it. Until they get it to where it flawlessly converts word files, I don't think it will be feasable for people in a situation like mine. This is my last hurdle to completely freeing myself of Microsoft products forever.
          • by schlach ( 228441 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @08:40AM (#4461110) Journal
            Must ... refrain ... from modding you down, for posting without starting with "Must refrain" ...

            Whoops. No longer an issue. =)
          • by gorilla ( 36491 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @09:55AM (#4461738)
            I then had to spend a long time fixing hte document so it looks right in OO.

            But then, I've had similar problems when opening documents in Word, just a different version or different print driver to the original authors. The problem is that Word is an awful file format.

            • yes but (Score:4, Insightful)

              by commodoresloat ( 172735 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @02:47PM (#4463953)
              It's true, Word is an awful file format as far as I can tell. I've had the same kinds of problems opening Word documents created with different versions, or even opening files in other formats (even HTML!) And don't even get me started on the program's HTML output, which some people feel compelled to use even when they are hiring web designers to do it right for them. Nothing worse than spending an hour cleaning up a Word-generated web page only to have the client send you another copy of the same output because they wanted to change a sentence of content.....

              So, yeah, Word sucks, but the point is that everyone uses it in certain arenas. So you're forced to use it if you deal with OPD a lot (Other People's Documents). Also, in Word's defense, it is profoundly easy and intuitive for people to use. And once people get used to it they are loathe to switch to something new to figure out.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @02:22PM (#4463771)

            Just whatever you do, if you have Windows XP with Corel Wordperfect preinstalled on the machine, don't uninstall it, because it is written to where uninstalling it rips out the ODBC keys in the registry, so if you need anything that uses them later, even reinstalling MDAC won't fix it.


            This makes me wonder if these manufacturers are aware of this behavior when they agree to put this on their machines.

      • by Pxtl ( 151020 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @08:53AM (#4461236) Homepage
        Idunno, I'm still mad at MS for egotistically naming their proprietary document filetype *.doc, which was already being used for general text files, thus meaning that every freaking old doc file I open that's plain text launches in Word and I have to wait all that time for their slow-ass program to boot.
  • minireview (Score:5, Interesting)

    by peterb ( 13831 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @06:59AM (#4460567) Homepage Journal
    The WordPerfect suite is installed on the laptop I'm using right now. It's somewhat less useful than Office (in a "my co-workers don't have it installed" kind of way), but the flip side of that coin is that it is substantially less facehugging, although it has its own annoyances (it puts about 63,000 little icons in the system tray. yuck.)

    So far my favorite part of it is the calendar applet, which is smart, unobtrusive, and useful.
    • comparison to OO.o? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by timothy ( 36799 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @07:03AM (#4460584) Journal
      I've been impressed with OpenOffice (esp. given some of the vitriolic criticism I've heard, I guess none of it applies to what I use it for), and I wonder if you have used that, can compare with the recent Corel suite. I've seen a few screenshots, but the last time I actually *used* WP was when they had a Linux version, which I thought was a neat concept but I never really got into WP, found it rather clunky.

      And since a lot of other people are probably asking "Why not OpenOffice?!" I wonder if you've used both and can answer that :)

      Cheers,

      timothy
      • by oever ( 233119 )
        I completely agree!
        Why not OpenOffice? It's free and it rocks.
        The only problem I have with it, is that it's support for formulas in text is not great at all, but I use LyX to overcome that problem.
        • My wife hates Star Office 5.2 for many reasons. The two biggest are:

          1. Crappy online documentation
          2. Lack of in-depth third party documentation


          While there are now dozens of books available about Star Office, most (if not all) are useless. Star Office has quite a lot of features that are documented very poorly.

          (As an aside, she's holding off upgrading to Open Office until the database integration is more complete. Her primary use for an office suite is the database.)

          • by Rick_T ( 3816 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @10:13AM (#4461854) Homepage
            > My wife hates Star Office 5.2 for many reasons.
            > The two biggest are:

            > 1. Crappy online documentation

            I can't speak to the database issue, since I have absolutely no need for database connectivity. I'd agree with your wife that SO5.2's online help was, well, useless.

            The Open Office team has been working to fix that little problem and has actually produced some USEFUL (imagine that) documentation in their package. Their docs aren't complete yet, but at least I could find the things I needed in OO's help rather than merely overviews of the different components that didn't tell you how to do anything.
        • I can tell you why they didn't use OO, support. Its cheaper to pay Corel $8 or so for an OEM version and let them deal with support questions than to give away OO and have to deal with supporting it yourselves. Telling your entry-level users to RTFM or "You've got the source, fix it yourself" isn't going to cut it.
          • Funny notion (Score:3, Informative)

            by brokeninside ( 34168 )
            Microsoft (and Corel also I would presume) foist tech support for OEM software onto the PC manufacturer. To get Microsoft support for a product bundled with a PC, one has to pay by the minute. I would be greatly surprised if Corel and other software makers did not have the same policy in force.
      • by Jonathan ( 5011 )
        Hey, I'm all for open source stuff and I actually even have OpenOffice installed on my work (Windows) laptop. However, you are naive if you think non-geeks can use it at present. I tried to convince a co-worker to use it on her machine at home as she had no office suite installed. She tried it for a week, but concluded that it "sucked".

        Why did she feel that way? Well, 1) The keystrokes are complely different -- we can deal with that, but others are less forgiving and 2) The inevitable formating problems when importing MS documents -- again maybe not a biggie for us, but it is for "normal" folk.
        • by garcia ( 6573 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @08:30AM (#4461034)
          I'm a geek. I think OO sucks.

          I have used WP8 for Linux for years. I can't open any of these documents in OO. What good does this LINUX WordProcessor do me when I can't open LINUX documents?

          I will stick to Abiword, the footprint is small and it does what I want.
          • by ites ( 600337 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @10:02AM (#4461782) Journal
            I have used WP8 for Linux for years. I can't open any of these documents in OO. What good does this LINUX WordProcessor do me when I can't open LINUX documents? OOo is not a LINUX word processor. Export your WP8 documents to something resembling an industry standard - RTF or MSOffice - and you'll find that OOo handles them just fine.
            As for OOo's functionality, apart from the obvious pain of changing habits, the suite works significantly better than anything else I've used, in the last 20 years.
            It crashes perhaps once every week. But it always saves everything first, and I've never lost an hour of work.
            It integrates graphics, presentations, and text in a simple and effective way.
            It is well organised, I can find the functions I want, and (unlike MS Office), they actually work. Like outline numbering.
            It uses compressed XML for its documents, which means they are small, take less disk space, are easier to backup, and faster to send by email.
            Its XML file format is easy to understand and produce mechanically for more advanced uses.
            It is free.
            It runs on both Linux and Windows, very nicely.
            I don't have to kill the paper clip.
            I can exchange documents with revisions with people using MS Office.
            In short, OOo is functionally less rich than MSOffice, but it lacks exactly that functionality I never wanted, and which made the whole package slow and unstable.
            After using OOo for a year or so, I'd not switch back.
        • IOW, if she was used to OO.o, she would say that MS Office "sucked" for exactly the same reasons?

          I use OO.o - my wife uses WP8/Windows (I used it too until I got OO.o). I like OO.o better but WP8 is nice as well. I find OO.o just works a little easier than WP at everything I do. Of course "what I do" is to write simple documents that are NOT terribly dependent on exact formatting, and doing relatively simple spreadsheets which I seldom print out (they're only for doing product comparisons, etc and I just need to look at them and play with the numbers until I have a satisfactory answer).
      • by Kircle ( 564389 )
        I haven't used WordPerfect in while as well, but if I were to speculate, I would say that it was because many people have at least heard of WP with it being the number 1 word processor all those years ago. In fact I've believe it is still used significantly in some professions to this day.

        Contrast that with OpenOffice (or even StarOffice). WordPerfect has the brand name and a good track record where as OpenOffice/StarOffice has only just shown upin recent years.
        • Last version of WordPerfect I used was 9; I dropped WP after 9 because it was a terrible disappoint after WordPerfect 8, the best word processing program I've ever used. Here are the problems with WP 9 (WP 10 may have overcome some of these):

          1. Abysmal Unicode support, deprecated in favor of WP's own 1-byte special character sets.
          2. Buggy support of previous file types (e.g., if you embedded an .eps file in WP8, you couldn't print that file later in WP9 to a PostScript printer - you'd get a PostScript error; note that you could print the file in WP8, so even if the originating bug was in WP8, WP9 could have used a quirks mode to resolve the problem).
          3. Buggy print drivers; PerfectPrint or whatever it was called would crash constantly.
          4. DAD (the mess of icons in the system tray) on by default; MS learned this lesson with their shortcut bar and left it off by default in versions after 97
          5. The SGML/XML editing system was a great idea, but at least as of WP9, you had to compile your DTDs before you could even start using it.

          I prefer OpenOffice for one reason and one reason only: the Unicode support. I would LOVE a version of WordPerfect that had real Unicode support, used a DTD-based file format, and still had the reveal codes feature (but with XML/SGML element tags rather than WP's proprietary codes). These last two are features I'd encourage the OpenOffice folks to look into; and to look at the WP9 look-and-feel, which I found superior to Office's at that time. I still find OpenOffice's look and feel too much like StarOffice 5's - just not comfortable.

      • IMHO, OpenOffice still has a ways to go. It's not enough that all the functionality is present, it has to be present and accessible in an intuitive manner. I don't mind OpenOffice. I use it at home, and at work (where I've had a license for MS Office for like 4 years) mainly as a viewer, and sometimes as a creator. However, my girlfriend (an average- to power- user) does not like it. There are many little annoyances. Like, for instance, if tables, things that look like date are AUTOMATICALLY CONVERTED TO DATES, no matter what you do. Is the preference in auto-complete? No. You have to right click the cell and turn number recognition off. If you look in the prefs, you will find it is under the "Table" setting. Do you think users will automatically look at preferences for tables when a number is auto-completing? Apparently not in the case of my girlfriend. It took a few days to figure out what the fuck was going on (it would NOT happen outside a table). Those few days is plenty time for a user to get frustrated an throw OpenOffice in the trash bin and just reinstall MS Office. So while the functionality might be there, the hard problem is really usability (hell, most people don't even USE most of the MS Office functionality). Add to the that not-quite-right look and feel, and it give the impression to the average user that they are working with a low-quality piece of software. Until OO can stand on its merits, it will have to make sure to keep up with the latest MS look and feel (well, it should as a matter of principle). Complain about them all you want, but MS users (and Mac OS users) have come to expect a certain consistency in the UI.
        • by Hard_Code ( 49548 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @08:04AM (#4460853)
          A tip: I would suggest adding some sort of AI so that if a user does the same thing (and potentially fails) over and over again, then some sort of message or tip could be given to them. This could probably be made less obtrusive than Clippy. For example, if OO had just popped up a tooltip that said: "You have deleted an auto-completed date recognization several times - to turn this feature off go...blah blah". That would have saved a lot of frustration.
    • Re:minireview (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Myco ( 473173 )
      I have not seen the word "facehugging" before, but it's wonderful and describes the situation perfectly. I commend you, Sir.
  • Clippy (Score:4, Funny)

    by e8johan ( 605347 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @06:59AM (#4460570) Homepage Journal
    Can this be soley due to economical reasons, or is it due to the curse of Clippy?
    • Re:Clippy (Score:3, Funny)

      by xianzombie ( 123633 )
      Just wait. Corel will bring out there own lil' "Clippy-like" demon (yes, demon), and then we can have "Tux vs. Clippy vs. Corel-thingy" and more threads w/ hacked game consoles.

      Except now, everyone will be copying "BMX XXX", so it will be exceptionally graphic....

      hrmm...I think i'm on to something.

      Whuz a naked paperclip look like?
    • Re:Clippy (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Clippy is turned off by default in Office XP. People applauded this when it was announced at the official Microsoft Office XP opening party.
  • by Inominate ( 412637 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @06:59AM (#4460571)
    Friendly competetion is a concept Microsoft has never understood.
  • by YrWrstNtmr ( 564987 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @07:01AM (#4460572)
    Can I order my system with no office suite please?

    Sure, if you actually want a Gateway.
  • clarification... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jish ( 80046 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @07:01AM (#4460575)
    Although the headline is eye-catching, the scope is fairly limited:

    In another blow to Microsoft, a fourth computer maker plans to bundle Corel's WordPerfect Office with its low-end consumer machines.

    Gateway is planning to include WordPerfect 10 and Quattro Pro 10 on its 300s desktops in North America.

  • No news here (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gnillort ( 617577 ) <myslashdotemailaccount@yahoo.com> on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @07:01AM (#4460576) Journal
    All they teach at high schools and colleges now is MS Word due to the widespread acceptance of it over the last six to seven years. Now, because of higher prices caused by piracy, there is a market backlash against it. Most users will pay the extra amount for Microsoft Office, for it is the program they "grew up" with using. So, all HP and Gateway are doing is lowering their visible cost and making it cost extra for the premium Microsoft Office package, which is exactly what free market should encourage.
    • Re:No news here (Score:5, Insightful)

      by davejenkins ( 99111 ) <slashdot@NOspAm.davejenkins.com> on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @07:09AM (#4460607) Homepage
      This was predicted some time back. The retail cost of a PC wasdropping toward $400, and some said that it was ludicrous that the office suite software should cost more than the whole computer itself. As that price approaches $400 ($199 anyone?), the retailers are doing just as they should: shaving of the pricey bits in order to gain marketshare through lower pricing.

      Soon enough, OpenOffice (at no cost) will be adopted widely by the big retailers. If AOL were smart, they would switch their business model to not only be an ISP, but an application support clearance venue: AOLOffice, AOLCalendar, AOLFoo all rolled into your $19/month.
    • by radish ( 98371 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @07:10AM (#4460612) Homepage

      You mean you really believe the marketing FUD which says that piracy "causes" high prices? Sheesh - I guess there really is one born every minute.
    • because of higher prices caused by piracy

      You can't be serious. The prices haven't risen because of piracy, but because M$ can ask higher prices and most people will still buy M$ Office.
    • Re:No news here (Score:5, Insightful)

      by e8johan ( 605347 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @07:28AM (#4460687) Homepage Journal
      I wouldn't say that the Office (or Word) pricesrise is "caused by piracy". I would say that it has been rised because Micro$oft has been able to establish a de-facto standard with a format so complex that it is down-right impossible to import properly into a competing product (object linking and embedding has made it really difficult) and now they charge for it. In other words: it is due to the lack or competition and a large amount of greed from M$.
  • 1 model of GW machines gets Corel over MS Office. These are the low end machines. Hell I don't blame them, it keeps costs down.

    This is like Dell offering Linux on on their high end workstations...
  • by ArthurDent ( 11309 ) <meaninglessvanity@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @07:04AM (#4460586) Homepage Journal
    Wow. You got to hand it to Gateway. This call took some serious courage to make. The days of reprisals from M$ for not using their software are probably over, but it still is impressive to be the first big player to take advantage of it.

    I just hope it pays off for them in being able to sell their computers for enough less that people buy more of them!

    Ben
    • Wow. You got to hand it to Gateway. This call took some serious courage to make...impressive to be the first big player to take advantage of it.

      Other than HP and Dell [slashdot.org] (August).

      You obvoiusly need less life and more slashdot browsing.

  • What about... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by skryche ( 26871 )
    gobeProductive? I've heard only good things about it. Plus, it's going to be libre RSN.

    Which is always nice.

  • by imag0 ( 605684 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @07:06AM (#4460592) Homepage
    Back when I worked for Gateway they began shipping StarOffice with all their low-end boxes and laptops- the consumer models.
    Went through with a training session on it (dull) and we were officially supporting boxes with Sun's StarOffice!

    For about a week.

    Looks like MS got wind of it and made some phone calls because in no time flat all those models shipping with StarOffice was re-imaged with a load using Microsoft Works (an oxymoron if I ever heard one).

    I don't expect this to last any time at all. Once MS gets wind of it, phone calls will be made and things will quietly go back to the status quo.

    In better news, I heard a while back Gateway finally got rid of Vantive. Yippie!
    • by Johnny Mnemonic ( 176043 ) <mdinsmore@gm a i l .com> on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @10:43AM (#4462107) Homepage Journal

      As much as I like my job at Apple, brother do I hate Vantive. It is contrary to everything that Apple stands for, seriously impedes my workflow rather than helps it, and is just plain hard to use, buggy, and slow. I hope I meet a Vantive programmer in a dark alley some day, I'll teach him something about undimissable pop-ups and how to connect to a printer API.

      How someone was actually paid money to develop it is way beyond me--I envisage the conference room where the deployment demonstration took place while I'm waiting for my page to refresh.

      I sure wish Apple gets a serious case of whatever Gateway caught that made them move from Vantive.
  • by jukal ( 523582 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @07:07AM (#4460595) Journal
    Microsoft Office became the dominant productivity suite

    Every time I see the term "productivity suite" associated with Microsoft Office, I almost loose control of my bladder.

    • by RobotRunAmok ( 595286 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @07:45AM (#4460762)
      Every time I see the term "productivity suite" associated with Microsoft Office, I almost loose control of my bladder.

      See a doctor.

      There is nothing comparable (as a PIM) to Outlook in Windows. Symbian's Evolution approaches it for Linux (albeit lacking PocketPC synch support), but this is about Gateway's Win boxes.

      ACT! comes close, but it is skewed too strongly towards Sales and Marketing executives.

      Intro of an Outlook-free office suite is going to bring the hammer down on a lot of IT guys from various corner offices. And MS, of course, no dummies they, recognize and continue to play to this strength. [yahoo.com]

      I write and business model professionally, and find OO.o's Write and Calc more than satisfactory; it ain't about the word processors and the spreadsheets. It's the PIM: how it handes and/or integrates with the e-mail client, how friendly it plays with both Palm and PocketPC PDA's, and how easy it is to mirror at the exec's home box.

      ...and on a semi-related note, does anyone here remember Ecco? Now, That was a PIM! Or how about that Ur-PIM, borne of forgotten technology from the days before the oceans swallowed Atlantis, Lotus' Agenda?

      I'm open to recommendations in this area, but I've looked around enough not to be hopeful.

      • There is nothing comparable (as a PIM) to Outlook in Windows. Symbian's Evolution approaches it for Linux (albeit lacking PocketPC synch support), but this is about Gateway's Win boxes.

        It took me ten years to find it - but check out Time and Chaos [isbister.com].

        It has all the functionality (PIM'wise) of Outlook - but allows you to share calendars on a simple LAN without the use of a server. It's the perfect solution for our small church LAN - and it's allowed us to start moving away from Outlook both as a PIM and as an email client.
  • Ouch, the sound (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ProppaT ( 557551 )
    ...The sound of a thousand college students screaming in pain when they find out their new computer doesn't have Word/Works on it...

    At least they have Open Office to fall back on. It's pretty intuitive software, especially if you know Word.

    I wish I had that option. I'll be one happy man when Open Office can preform all the functions Word can AND the formatting, etc. is fully compatible with all versions of Word. Until then I'll be forced to use Word XP for all the nice little features it has...well, that and the hundreds of documents I edit every week are all in Word and ALL use the advanced formatting / markup features.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @07:32AM (#4460707)
      Word isn't fully compatible with all versions of word.
    • Re:Ouch, the sound (Score:2, Informative)

      by MichaelJ ( 140077 )
      be one happy man when Open Office can perform all the functions Word can

      Really? I would be horribly disappointed to find that an Open Source project produced a word processor that insists on operating on and formatting my documents the way MS thinks they should be, as opposed to the way I want to lay them out. I hope they at least put all the items on the menus instead of leaving most of them out for the user to have to discover hidden away on some toolbar (or not even accessible anywhere without manually putting on a new toolbar).

      I've loved WordPerfect since 4.2, even wrote my thesis in 5.1 for VAX/VMS. I think this is terrific news because it means the product has new life and isn't going to disappear on me. Quattro Pro is a far better spreadsheet for engineering and mathematics as well - it's truly 3D instead of Excel's notion of worksheets, and doesn't have Excel's huge "business presentation" slant.

      Whee! Let the the Word/WordPerfect flame wars begin! :-)

  • IMHO (Score:2, Informative)

    by Vilim ( 615798 )
    In my opinion WP beats office any day for functionality, the downside is that it peppers my system tray with millions of useless icons trying to control every facet of my life. I like 4 icons in my systray. MBM (takes up 2), apache, mysql. At least alternatives to office are being considered.
  • by mumblestheclown ( 569987 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @07:11AM (#4460621)
    Irrespective of the Microsoft / Corel issue, I want to comment on the idea that "competition creates better products."

    While, don't get me wrong, this is true in the general case, it may not necessarily be true in the absolute case. Let's say that operating systems was a truly "competitive" market with 1000 really world class, interoperable operating systems out there. Each producer, lacking the ability to compete on features (because each would be good enough per users' needs), would compete on price. No producer could get large enough to invest significant amounts in R&D. Overall product quality declines.

    So yes, it is nice to see somebody lighting a fire under MS's butt and that's exactly what Corel, with an objectively inferior product will do--it will force MS to innovate and perhaps complete a little more on price. But don't confuse that with the general notion that competition is always good, especially in software, which many people would say has tendencies towards natural (and in practice sometimes not so natural) monopolies.

    • I'd only point out that when the point is reached that an OS fills the users needs little R&D is left to do actually. That's kind of the point actually. Competition spurs development, development creates maturity, maturity creates a commodity market. Maybe not a "good thing" for the company trying to rake in billions of excess profits, but damned good for the consumer who simply wants a cheap effective product that accomplishes what he wants. Like, say, a TV set. You can already see the effect in the latest OS's/GUI's being released which tout the transparency of its widgets rather than the actual functionality of the OS. From the point of view of the user the state of the art in OS's has already reached the point where they're being sold on the size of their "tailfins."

      A Linux "zealot" might also point out the the fastest developing OS at the moment isn't a commercial product at all and is indicitive of the fact the the price of an OS had *already* dropped to $0, yet development continues.

      KFG
    • I think your point is correct with regards to a closed document standard, but not so in other instances.

      Take .mp3 players, for example. The entire arena is known by the fileTYPE. There are plenty of freely distributable players which all provide the same basic abilities. One could argue that none of them have made groundbreaking innovations, but they do succeed in a meaningful level of differentiation while allowing users to switch between them with a minimal of difficulty. If it were only so with office suites, the (geeky computer software) world would be much better.

      Instead, we have a de facto imposed standard of a proprietary closed document. Anyone who wishes to compete in the office suite market must pay an investment to Microsoft, in the form of development time, developers, support, or possibly cash (could a developer buy the documentation?) This is a cost imposed on the competitors that Microsoft doesn't pay, and they can even raise that price with new versions. Price competition in this market would surely impede the R&D of competitors while Microsoft plunges ahead unhindered.

      I don't pretend to be an economics expert, and there are undoubtedly more forces at play, but to dismiss the benefits of competition in software by definition is too zealous, I think. When everyone is building a competing tool for a level playing field, then R&D is an investment with an extremely substantial return - differentiation and innovation. When some competitors are forced to struggle to maintain compatibility with a monopolist, the returns for that are magnified and differentiation, innovation, and R&D, are minimized.

    • economics 101 (Score:4, Interesting)

      by johnos ( 109351 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @08:07AM (#4460876)
      Open markets are self-correcting. Over time, there can't be too many competitors because new entrants will percieve a lack of opportunity, and invest elsewhere. Existing players will consolidate. Look at the early car business. There were over 200 car makers in the US at one point. The small ones could not command the resources needed to build big assembly lines, they could not compete. They were eaten by the bigger companies.

      So you would not get 1000 world class interoperable OS products unless the market could support that many. There is no reason at all why the OS market should tend towards a natural monopoly. In an open market, natural monopolies usually exist only where duplicated infrastructure is inefficient. Like your local power company. It is very doubtful that another power company could come along, string new power lines and still compete effectively with the existing utility. Again, in most open markets, natural monopolies are allowed, but regulated to some degree.

      Microsoft is not a natural monopoly. There is no reason at all one company should have a 90% share of the OS market. Indeed, MS has been convicted of using illegal means to protect that monopoly. If they had anything close to a natural monopoly, they would not have felt the need to employ those means.

      Economics also posits that unnatural monopolies eventually fall apart. The monopolist eventually puts more resouces into protecting the monopoly than the monopoly is worth. If no competition exists, subsitution begins to happen as people find more efficient ways to accomplish the same tasks. In this case, PDAs are a good example. Between subsitution and inefficient protection, the monopolist's power begins to slip away.
  • by jmcnamera ( 519408 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @07:16AM (#4460640) Homepage
    What will really happen is that people buying the low-end machines will then borrow a copy of Office 97 or Office 2000 from a friend and copy it.
    • by dre80 ( 613210 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @07:31AM (#4460702)
      Actually, that's precisely what happens now with these low-end machines, currently bundled with MS Works (oxymoron jokes aside...). Anyone who has to deal with Works will inevitably get peeved enough to find a way to use Word.

      WordPerfect Office is better than MS Works by several orders of magnitude, and it's a complete office suite (unlike the latter). I'd expect that more people will actually use a preinstalled copy of WP-Office than MS Works. That's a good thing, because it will bring directly to the forefront the issue of file compatibility. At the moment, people don't realise that not everyone can read Word files. Add all these WordPerfect users into the mix, and file format compatibility becomes something people want. Supply-and-demand follows, and such entities as Microsoft will have to offer options for their customers [gasp! MS forced to do what their customers want?? Is the world coming to an end??].

    • As opposed to the people that bought high end machines and copy it too? I really dont think it matters how much your machine costs, its simply easier for someone to stick in a CD and install Office than to download OpenOffice using a dial up connection, which most people are probably still using. Also, I bet that 99% (blatant exaggeration, but you get my point) of the computer using population doesnt even KNOW about OpenOffice.
  • My HP laptop came with WordPerfect2000. Can't stand it. Akward to use, lacks in features. WordPerfect was cool back in version 5.1. Of course, it was just about the ONLY viable word processor back in 5.1.

    The first thing I did was uninstall it and install OpenOffice 1.0.1.
    • Re:WordPerfect (Score:5, Interesting)

      by frank249 ( 100528 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @07:41AM (#4460750)
      What lack of features? The only features WP lacks is its vulnerabilty to Word macro viruses. WP 10 can publish to PDF and has an integrated XML publisher. I have to use Word at work but I always use WordPerfect at home and on my laptop. Quatro Pro is no slouch either. It can handle worksheets with a million rows, has more functions than Excel and has the best charting on the market.
  • can Wordperfect read/write to MS Office format?

    Surely this is the real issue?

  • This could be good. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FroMan ( 111520 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @07:26AM (#4460678) Homepage Journal

    Even though this is not OpenOffice.org or anything, it is still good news.


    Consider that if they hold out on this, and people really want to use MS Office, that they will have to pay the full price for MS Office. When you start seeing a couple hundred clams being dropped for just an office suite maybe folks will come to their senses.


    Right now my work is based on MS Office and a number of other MS tools. When I mention the idea of looking into OpenOffice.org they say we get MS Office for free. Which isn't true. We just buy it in bulk (pay an obsene price to have as many licenses of MS Office/W2k/...). It hides the cost. So companies never see the cost of MS Office.


    However, the end user will start seeing the price if they buy machines with Corel Office, which does the trick. But if they want to do MS Office thing, then they truely see the price at home.


    I like this idea. The whole concept of pricing themselves out of the market.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @07:30AM (#4460698)
    Who needs all the extra features of MS Office anyway? the great majority of home PC users (and some offices also) don't even use any of the advanced only-in-MS-Office features. All people need is a simple word processor with simple features such as spell checking, printing, changing fonts and colours and inserting images. Hell adding a spelling checker and a bit more to WordPad would have been enough for daily use.

    Then there is the spreadsheet. Again, same trend applies here. Who has seen anyone at home actually use VB scripts or insert OLE objects to do weird stuff with Excel ? Not the majority I can tell you.

    Just include a simple usefull wordprocessor and spreadsheet and you are set. Who needs MS Office?
    • Exactly right. The reason that most users think they need Office is this:

      Take a file in a simple format like CSV (comma separated) and edit it in Excel. When you save, the program will nag you to save it as an .XLS file and warn you that it "may" contain advanced features that will be lost if you don't. Same deal with RTF in Word.

      So although most users don't use advanced Word features, they are bullied by MS software into saving everything in the proprietary formats.

  • by Taurine ( 15678 )
    Nostalgia rush! This takes me back to 1994, when I was buying a new PC, comparing features on machines from lots of different companies. Back then it was very common for a computer to come with Corel WP, or Lotus SmartSuite. There really was no de-facto standard for home computers, though I never saw any of these suites in use in eductational orgs (I was a student at the time).
  • $135M from Redmond (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @07:33AM (#4460715)
    Pardon me, but have we all forgotten whose team Corel is batting for? [macworld.com]
  • by mike449 ( 238450 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @07:35AM (#4460727)
    They have changed their logo more than a year ago. The new one is, for example, here. [corel.com].
  • by shftleft ( 261411 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @07:40AM (#4460749) Homepage
    I work a help desk for a consulting firm which uses Wordperfect 8 and 9 for many projects(due to client needs). I hate it, and I hate dealing with it. It has many problems including formatting issues, compatibility with other office suites (Office, Lotus, ect.) and applications, printer driver issues and is really slow on fairly speedy desktops. I know MS Office has it's problems as well, but at least you only need to know one set of problems if we all use the same suite.

    P.S. I know about open source solutions, but I don't make those kind of decisions :(.
    • Formatting issues? That's, frankly, a silly comment, since WordPerfect has it all over Word when it comes to formatting. In fact, WordPerfect formats with 100 times Word's precision (1/1200" versus 1/12"), which is exactly why some problems can crop up with printer or video drivers. If you're not familiar with WordPerfect (which you clearly are not), you won't know how to troubleshoot problems.

      Word *does* have advantages over WordPerfect: for one thing, more flexible variable handling. But formatting is undeniably inferior.

      Compatibility is a problem, yes, but the same goes for Word's compatibility with WordPerfect and Lotus's compatibility with either. Sure, if everybody would just knuckle under to MS and use the latest version Word, there would not be compatibility issues, and we could just rent our software from MS the way they want to.

      For most people, open source alternatives are okay. But for advanced document production (i.e., legal use), StarOffice and OpenOffice are inadequate.
  • Corel not as good (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 1000101 ( 584896 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @07:41AM (#4460751)


    "I can only see this as a good thing because friendly competition creates drive for better(less clippy) products."


    I've used OpenOffice, Corel, MS Office, Lotus, and a few lesser knowns, and MS Office is by far the best app. Sure the price is a little steep but if you rely on these office applications (i.e. you don't use programming apps all day) to run your business then the functionality MS Office provides is unmatched.

  • They both suck goats (Score:3, Interesting)

    by billcopc ( 196330 ) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @07:43AM (#4460756) Homepage
    I don't see this as being a good thing. We all hate to say/hear it, but M$ Office is easier, more 'logical' and much more stable than any version of Wordperfect suite (after 5.1/Dos of course). Even though it's Wordperfect that started out in the ice age, and was cloned in Word later on, it has become superbloated and superceded. Quattro Pro ? Where'd my functions go ? Corel Presentations, as a graphics engine, sucks ass and is probably the reason why everything else crashes. As a presentation (slideshow) designer, it feels like a windows _port_ of Harvard Graphics 3.0. Eeeyuck.

    Really, my money is with M$ Office, and my heart is with StarOffice. Corel used to have a solid draw suite, but even that's gone to tatters as I've done the unthinkable and switched over to Adobe Illustrator.

    They suck, their support sucks, and they're always trying to give away their apps for OEMs to try and gain market share, because very few people would actually pay for this second-rate fluff.
  • by BrookHarty ( 9119 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @07:45AM (#4460768) Homepage Journal
    I have not seen any good office suite reviews in a LONG time. The last was MS Office 2000 vs. Corel 2000 over at cnet [cnet.com].

    Anyone know if there are any reviews with the massive amount of suites. Koffice, open office, star office, ms office, ms works, corel office, applix, easy office, lotus smartsuite, siag office, axene, newdeal, 602Pro, etc..

    -
    I'm too shy to express my sexual needs except over the phone to people I don't know. - Garry Shandling
  • by chrysrobyn ( 106763 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @07:46AM (#4460771)

    I'm not a karma whore with ready-made "Insightful +1" link-laden posts sitting around, but I'd like to offer an unfounded observation.

    Is it just me, or have we been seeing a lot of these types of announcements lately? There was this whole "Lindows" thing at Wal-Mart. Gateway moving to Corel. Didn't Dell (or Compaq or somebody) do the same thing a few months ago? And just before that (weeks?), didn't another of the big boys move to Open Office? I know the answer to those questions is "Google", but I'm no search string guru (Another topic is that I can type in what I think is intuitive for Google, and get nothing but junk, but fellow /.ers can find what they want by hitting the "I feel lucky" button).

    In the beginning, the PC world was filled with choice. There was Dos, DrDos and a few clones like that, and they shipped with new computers. Then, there were multi-tasking shells (Quemm? Windows, Norton system commander?), and they shipped with new machines. Word, Word Perfect, Word Star, etc. shipped with new machines, too. Was it Windows 95 that ended the diversity? Or had Office been the de facto before that?

    I'm wondering if perhaps the Justice Department thing may end up bringing some diversity back to a previously-diverse world. Not that I think the ruling will be anything to speak of, but rather a warning shot that lets the independant vendors go with other products without (much) fear of retribution. Or is this just noise in the grand scheme of things, and ammunition for M$ to scream, "Look, they chose to go with other vendors, then came back to us for superior products!"?

    • Was it Windows 95 that ended the diversity? Or had Office been the de facto before that?

      Both destroyed diversity. Windows95 was the cheap system for dummies, but it carried lots of incompatibilities and conflicts. Some were created by dodo developers at Redmond, others were the result of a smart and well-weighed campaign, where M$ exploited the difficulties people had on adapting products to the new OS. In a few monthes this nearly wiped out every concurrent from the market.

      One of the main loosers in this fight was exactly the WordPerfect suite. Back then it belonged to Novell and they were poised to make a serious concurrence against M$. But it is curious that everything Novell went nuts when Windows95 came. Their Netware network client was unstable in every detail, it took nearly an year to see a stable version. Quattro Pro, a very powerful and popular spreadsheet, which was much better and more stable than Excel on Windows 3.1, couldn't work on Win95. And while I didn't like too much of WordPerfect, the thing suffered the same ills as Quattro. And Paradox, the equivalent of Access, a very popular veteran among databases, died in unglory, due to the fact it never returned the stability of the old days.

      There were also several tools like QEMM and SuperStack that died in similar ways. Some of this was due to the fact that we were enteringthe true world of MBs of RAM. But many of these systems died because of the crapyness of Win95

  • What this says to me is that the laws of economics hold true at Gateway.

    (1) Gateway is struggling to compete against the "Dudes at Dell" who lead in education and business as PC suppliers

    (2) They are looking to sell a lower cost system with major functionality so they have to include SOME office suite

    (3) They look to Corel for a lower cost licensing option and I feel certain Corel gave them a sweetheart of a deal

    (4) SO WHAT'S NEXT? Well if you are already shipping systems with your lowest end hardware and a less expensive productivity suite, the next obvious place to look is your OS. By offering a Wal-Martesq Lindows or Dellesq Red Hat option, you can offer an even less expensive system AND reduce component configurations since Linux doesn't require as beefy a system as OSes from Redmond do.

    Humm, add a coffee bar to those Gateway Country stores and in 2003 they'll be the hacker hangout in ever mid-sized town.
  • Puzzling... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ackthpt ( 218170 )
    Such good news, in abundance, doesn't seem to be helping Corel's [cnet.com] stock price much. Is the market so pessimistic on any news now?
  • Office XP to Corel WordPerfect: Mission Accomplished, Convert Thrilled

    October 9, 2002

    Yes, it's true. I like Corel WordPerfect to change my whole computing world around. Here's the bottom line: WordPerfect gives me more choices and flexibility, and better compatibility with the rest of the technology world.

    WordPerfect relieved my fears about switching. I can read my files, import e-mail addresses from my Palm* to the CorelCENTRAL messaging and collaboration client, and keep my Web favorites. All the Office XP hardware--including my printer, broadband cable, Zip drive, and Palm handheld--works perfectly with my Corel-based PC.

    To my surprise, the process of switching was as easy as the marketing hype had promised. I was up and running in less than one day, Girl Scout's honor. First, let me tell you more about why I converted.

    More Hardware Options, for Less Dough

    I am a freelance writer; I demand the best in mobile computing. There's a much greater choice of portable computers and features, for less money, on the Corel platform. My laptop came with 512 MB of RAM, a 15" screen, a DVD player, and WordPerfect Home Edition preinstalled, for $450 less than a comparable iBook. My recommendation is to go straight to WordPerfect Professional; the extra features for mobile users are worth it. See Which Edition is Right for You? [corel.com] for more information.

    More Software Flexibility

    Office XP (previously called Office 2000) pales in comparison to Corel WordPerfect. There's no equivalent for the versatility of Corel WordPerfect, QuattroPro, and CorelPresentations. Toolbars and menus customize themselves to the way I work. I wouldn't know how to function without the Track Changes and Comments features of Word. I adore the WordPerfect Clipboard, which copies multiple elements from one file and pastes them into another.

    Corel Internet Explorer 6 does more for me than Netscape Navigator ever did, and I am a surfing addict. Searches are faster; the History feature makes it easier to find that site from last week; and I can name and organize my Favorites any way I want.

  • Reveal Codes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by frank249 ( 100528 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @08:31AM (#4461043)
    One of the biggest reasons I use WordPerfect over Word is the Reveal Codes feature. I have to use Word at work and it drives me crazy. It puts in formating the way its thinks it should be done, not the way I want it. In WP if something is not right, I can select reveal codes and see exactly what the problem is. Nothing is hidden. I know Word can reveal some of its formating but not everything like WP. When I want to get my work done in a reasonable amount of time I use WordPerfect.
    • Re:Reveal Codes (Score:4, Informative)

      by WildBeast ( 189336 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @08:34AM (#4461061) Journal
      In word go to :
      Tools
      Options
      In Formatting Marks check All
    • Re:Reveal Codes (Score:3, Interesting)

      MS Word does not create documents like Wordperfect does. It's more like a CSS file than HTML, keeping track of the formatting of each letter, word, paragraph, page, and section seperately, rather than having "start formatting" and "end formatting" tags.

      To get word to work right, turn off the "define styles based on your formatting" function in the Autocorrect menu ("Autoformat as you type" tab). Then use files for any difference in font or heading, making new ones as you go.

      Using word this way lets you seperate the content from the presentation (as much as a word processor can), and allows for rather easy editing.

      Wordperfect lets you reveal codes, but Word doesn't litter extra codes everywhere.

      See http://www.mvps.org/word/Default.htm [mvps.org] for more information on Word. I wish that the help file was half this good...

  • by tmark ( 230091 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @08:34AM (#4461064)
    Regardless of whether people here do or don't , most of the people who are buying Gateway-type computers LIKE the Microsoft suite of products. Most of these people, politics aside and given a choice, would take Word any day over WordPerfect and would take Excel any day over 1-2-3. That's the reality of the marketplace that MS Office dominates - in fact, it's the very reflection of MS Office dominance.

    So what this means is that the Gateway PC is going to have to be cheaper - when you factor in the lost MS Office - then competitors. What's it worth having MS Office vs Corel's suite ? $100 ? $200 ? Whatever number you come up with, that's how much the Gateway is going to need to be cheaper (assuming an otherwise equivalent feature set).

    If Gateway's PC is not cheaper on a feature-adjusted basis, then people are going to buy their PCs from Dell, or IBM, or HPQ, or whomever. LOTS of companies have been substituting other office suites in the past, and they did NOTHING to threaten MS hegemony, let alone provide a modicum of competition. IBM did it with their line of PCs years ago, bundling WordPro and 1-2-3 right after their Lotus acquisition and when MS Office was not nearly as dominant as it is now, and I'm sure their sales were hurt as a result. Now WordPro is history while MS Word rolls on.

    This isn't news, it's just Gateway trying to cut their costs.
    • Most of these people, politics aside and given a choice, would take Word any day over WordPerfect and would take Excel any day over 1-2-3.

      How do you know? If Corel hadn't fouled up WP9, I'd still be using it, and so would my company of 150 people.

  • Likely Outcome (Score:4, Insightful)

    by InnovATIONS ( 588225 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @09:38AM (#4461592)
    Is that it will put pressure on MS to lower its large-scale OEM pricing to Gateway (and others), which is how we wound up with office-preinstalled-on-everything in the first place. The net will be lower prices to consumers, and maybe some lost revenue to Microsoft, but if you are predicting the decline and fall of Office as the standard you are being way too unrealistic. Still, I think it would be really nervy to offer Open Office bundled on all computers.
  • This makes sense (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Daimaou ( 97573 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @12:12PM (#4462818)
    I can get the latest version of Corel's WordPerfect Office suite from several local vendors for $20.00 if I buy a piece of qualifying hardware (A floppy drive - $11.00). If any average customer can buy Corel's suite for that, I would imagine Gateway is paying less.

    With MS Office costing so much, I wonder why more people and companies don't switch over to WordPerfect Office? I think that Excel is a little better than Quatro Pro, but with the exception of the email program (which absolutely sucks) the rest of programs that make up the WordPerfect Office suite are at least as good if not better than their Microsoft counterparts.

    Since word processing is the most used application of any suite, and since WordPerfect is far better and cheaper than Word, it only makes sense.

    Mooooo.
  • by bgfay ( 5362 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @12:59PM (#4463157) Homepage
    It's about the way in which the program works with documents. WordPerfect has always looked at documents differently than Word and its knock-offs (OpenOffice included). For me, a stubborn hold over from the days of WP5.1, it's all about Reveal Codes and the way in which codes work in WordPerfect.

    Now, if someone would finally come up with one standard document format, preferably one like html (code based) but with a better system for printing, then life would be good.

    Anyway, for now, there is a standard format and it's called plain text. If that doesn't work, PDF is pretty much universal in the Windows world. Not sure about PDF under Linux.
  • by asdfasdfasdfasdf ( 211581 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @01:49PM (#4463543)
    Microsoft paid Slashdot for me to view this article. I *LOVE* that!

    Click here for screen grab [caplan.org]

    Yeah, I know it's 8 color. I'm trying to save on some bandwidth, okay?

I've looked at the listing, and it's right! -- Joel Halpern

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