Corel Buyout Withdrawn; Where to Go Next?

August 18, 2008

Back in March, Corel Holdings made an offer to purchase all outstanding shares of Corel’s stock for $11 per share. Today that offer was withdrawn. Keep in mind that Corel Holdings is already the majority shareholder with 69 percent of all shares.

Corel says that its directors will now evaluate strategic alternatives for the company. Of course none of those alternatives has been made public. So why don’t we, the users, have a little fun and see what kind of alternatives we can dream up. Who know, maybe one of us has a great idea that Corel has not yet explored.

I’m going to list a few of my thoughts that I feel would be good for the company. Feel free to post comments with your thoughts. Please remember that these are my thoughts and if they are in any way related to the reality of the situation, I certainly know nothing about it.

  1. Corel needs to make up their mind on Corel Ventura. I think it is absolutely crazy that they have done nothing with the software in seven years. Did you know that Corel Corporation was built as a VAR providing support for the then Ventura Publisher and that Corel’s first product was a laser printer? Did you know that Corel created several utilities like Headline and NewFont to add cool text features to Ventura? Did you know that those products turned into CorelDRAW in 1989? Those of us who truly use and believe in Ventura can make very compelling arguments for Corel to resume development. While we find the software indispensable, it is definitely showing its age. If Corel isn’t willing to resume development before the end of 2008, they need to find a buyer for it immediately. Personally I don’t think they would get much money from a sale and yet it could again become very valuable if they would simply develop it. It is the perfect complement to their other graphics products.
  2. Sell WordPerfect! They have tried so hard to compete with Microsoft Office that it has taken valuable resources away from CorelDRAW. Remove WordPerfect from their product portfolio and almost everything else they own has some relation to graphics.
  3. Consolidate image editors. Do they really need so many of them? Paint Shop Pro, PhotoImpact, PHOTO-PAINT and Painter are just the biggest names Corel owns. I truly believe there should be no more than three. Paint Shop Pro and PhotoImpact should be combined in some fashion to be the entry-level consumer product. PHOTO-PAINT should be the professional level editor. Painter should be for those who want to “paint” from scratch on screen. Believe me, some users would get upset when their favorite gets changed. It is just too much to develop products that compete against one another. Not to mention that Corel’s own products can read the formats from the other products.
  4. Continue to develop vertical markets for CorelDRAW. DecoStudio has taken CorelDRAW into the world of embroidery. Corel DESIGNER is for those doing technical illustrations. What about a version dedicated to the sign market to compete with FlexiSign? Maybe something else geared towards Web development. Of course putting Ventura in the box would give people the ability to do books more gracefully than doing it in CorelDRAW.
  5. Work with third parties! This is a giant pet peeve of mine. Look at the corel.com Web site. Look at the coreldraw.com Web site. How many of the resources provided are provided strictly by Corel and how many by third parties? You’ll find very few third party products listed. As one of the bigger providers of training products for CorelDRAW, it really bugs me that Corel does so little to work with third parties. And while this is somewhat self-serving, I always ask that Corel work with my competitors as well because I believe that it will be good for all of us in the long run. If a shopper realizes all of the support for CorelDRAW that exists, they are more likely to buy CorelDRAW and get the most out of it. If they go simply on what Corel provides on their Web properties, support looks awful compared to what is available for the Adobe suites.

OK, that’s my five ideas. Are they realistic? Maybe. Will they happen? Sadly I’m not confident any of them will happen and that to me is Corel’s problem. What do you think of my ideas? Am I crazy or did I hit the nail on the head? Do you have any ideas you’d like to share? Our goal is to make a stronger, more profitable company as that can only help us to get a better version of CorelDRAW in the future!

Post Discussion

3 Comments

  1. JackDeth

    Crazy?! Heck no!

    As co-moderator of the CorelDRAW Users Group (find us in YahooGroups), we get request for help from people all the time who are looking for assistance in using CoreDRAW for designing signs. Almost all professional sign-makers I’ve ever worked with use CorelDRAW for their sign-making. They all wish there were features geared more toward their industry.

    I myself am a website developer. I use Draw and PhotoPaint for designing all my graphics. I still wish they had a program that was more web-specific. Or something that would compete with Adobe Dreamweaver, since I still sort of see that as a graphics-related product to a degree. Kind of like Ventura, but not for the printed page.

    Reply
  2. WizeHowl

    I would really like to see more aggressive marketing here in Australia aimed towards the Graphics industry, the only marketing here is done via their website, which as you have pointed out is lagging badly in a number of areas.

    I subscribe to a number of trade magazines and Corel has no advertising in any of them, while their competitors are regular marketers.

    It is an untapped source for them here, lets face it, their competition leaves a lot to desire in a number of facets, especially on price, but essentially on features, Corel is without doubt the best graphics package available to us.

    I have been using Corel since version three, and have gladly updated every version since as soon as they have released them here in Australia, as a Graphic Designer / Printer, I was introduced to Adobe and the version I had couldn’t even fit text to paths, saving files took three processes, and it was not as user friendly as Corel, so why is Adobe the market leader here in Australia, when Corel is obviously the accepted medium in the US and the UK. The only thought I have is that it has never been marketed here, especially to the Print and Graphic trade. It seems that only hobbyist or semi professionals use it here.

    As for extra features in Draw and PhotPaint, I would like to see, as pointed out in your last Unleashed article by Hunter Elliot, their RAW capabilities are neglected, why couldn’t they put more into it, after all they did ask us all to fill in a survey on whether we would use it if they did, I for one said yes. But alas they have let us down by not making it as good as they could.

    Again you have pointed out the third party issue, why not include a larger number of macros for us to use that enhance both Draw and PhotPaint.

    Reply
  3. WizeHowl

    I would really like to see more aggressive marketing here in Australia aimed towards the Graphics industry, the only marketing here is done via their website, which as you have pointed out is lagging badly in a number of areas.

    I subscribe to a number of trade magazines and Corel has no advertising in any of them, while their competitors are regular marketers.

    It is an untapped source for them here, lets face it, their competition leaves a lot to desire in a number of facets, especially on price, but essentially on features, Corel is without doubt the best graphics package available to us.

    I have been using Corel since version three, and have gladly updated every version since as soon as they have released them here in Australia, as a Graphic Designer / Printer, I was introduced to Adobe and the version I had couldn’t even fit text to paths, saving files took three processes, and it was not as user friendly as Corel, so why is Adobe the market leader here in Australia, when Corel is obviously the accepted medium in the US and the UK. The only thought I have is that it has never been marketed here, especially to the Print and Graphic trade. It seems that only hobbyist or semi professionals use it here.

    As for extra features in Draw and PhotPaint, I would like to see, as pointed out in your last Unleashed article by Hunter Elliot, their RAW capabilities are neglected, why couldn’t they put more into it, after all they did ask us all to fill in a survey on whether we would use it if they did, I for one said yes. But alas they have let us down by not making it as good as they could.

    As you have pointed out the third party issue, why not include a larger number of macros for us to use that enhance both Draw and PhotPaint.

    Reply

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Foster D. Coburn III

Foster D. Coburn III is author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences. His first Web site was built in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013.

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