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HP Goes Corel: Rare Win or Changing Times?

Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Corel announced a deal this week in which the PC maker will bundle Corel's WordPerfect and Quattro Pro software in HP's entire line of Pavilion desktop PCs in North America. Previously, HP bundled Microsoft Works and Microsoft Office XP software with the Pavilion PCs. Corel says that its office productivity software is experiencing strong growth this year after years of being marketed almost solely to existing WordPerfect users. Clearly, the high price of Office and the sudden emergence of viable alternatives is changing the way companies and individuals view this crucial software category that Microsoft has long dominated.

"We are very pleased to expand our relationship with HP," said Corel Executive Vice President Steve Houck. "It's always great to see a market-leading hardware vendor recognize the benefits of our business productivity software. Vendors are continually looking to increase the value that they can offer to their customers and the strength of the WordPerfect brand offers a very compelling choice."

Starting next month, HP will offer Corel WordPerfect 10 and Quattro Pro 10 to new Pavilion customers as part of a WordPerfect Office Productivity Pack, which will include an integrated Task Manager. WordPerfect 10 includes publish-to-PDF capabilities, compatibility with Word 2002, and the popular Reveal Codes feature. Quattro Pro 10 is a spreadsheet application that lets users manage, analyze, report, share data, and organize information.

To understand the scope of this deal, remember that HP is now the largest PC maker in the world, thanks to its recent merger with Compaq. The company commands about 50 percent of the US retail market for PCs and is Microsoft's largest hardware partner. And because of the low price of Corel's suite, HP is considering expanding its deal with Corel to include Compaq's line of Presario PCs. Office costs PC makers hundreds of dollars a copy, a deal Corel was easily able to undercut.

But Office remains the market leader--by a long shot. Microsoft says that more than 300 million customers worldwide use its office productivity suite.

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