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Lenovo Looks to Corel for New PCs

Posted by inet - 2006-03-03

Corel and Lenovo Group have inked a deal to ship Corel's office productivity and small-business software on the new line of Lenovo PCs.
Under the terms of the deal, which the companies officially will unveil on Wednesday, the Corel Small Business Center--a suite of office productivity software that includes Corel WordPerfect Office, Corel Photo Album 6 Starter Edition, Corel Paint Shop Pro X, and CorelDRAW Graphics Suite--will ship on Lenovo 3000 laptops and desktops throughout North America and Latin America, as well as in India, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines.

Lenovo's 3000 series is the first line of PCs the company will brand since it took over IBM's PC and notebook business. The 3000 series is comprised of PCs and laptops in the price range of $349 to about $600. Several models that include the Corel software suite are already available, with more planned for the future, according to the companies.

Corel's Comeback?

Corel, founded in Ottawa, Canada, in 1985, was once well known as a pioneer in word-processing and graphics software. But the company, which went public in 1989, began fading from view in the late 1990s as Microsoft Office became the de facto standard for word-processing and other office productivity applications.

Richard Carriere, Corel's general manager of the office productivity unit, acknowledged that Corel's star shines far less brightly now than it once did. But three years ago San Francisco-based venture capital firm Vector Capital purchased Corel and took the company private, and since then the company has quietly inked some high-profile OEM (original equipment manufacturer) deals that have been a resurrection of sorts for its software brands, he said.

In particular, Corel is focused on providing low-cost software to what Carriere calls the "value-conscious consumer or small business." This plan includes competing alongside companies such as Sun Microsystems and Mozilla to provide an alternative to Microsoft Office, he said.

"We may not be as flamboyant as Sun with its StarOffice productivity suite, but we've made some very pragmatic moves," he said.

In addition to the Lenovo deal, Corel has a similar one with Dell, which ships the WordPerfect Office suite on its Inspiron and Optiplex PC lines in North America, Carriere said. Corel also has country-specific deals with local OEMs in Canada and Latin America, he said.

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