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 Today that offer was withdrawn.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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!