Yesterday I gave you a recap of where Corel Corporation stands today. There was some good news and some bad news. Today I’m going to lay out the first of my marketing ideas for improving things. Since most of my exposure to Corel Corporation is with CorelDRAW, my marketing ideas will mostly focus on selling more copies of CorelDRAW.
When I look over the feature requests of users and I listen to the projects they are attempting to complete with CorelDRAW, it is obvious to me that a tool for publishing is needed in the suite. Those of you who know me can probably guess where I’m going with this already. Yes, Corel needs to revive development of Ventura and put it in the CorelDRAW Suite. Let’s talk about the pros and cons of doing this, including the financial impact.
Do you want automatic page numbering? Running headers and footers? Tables of contents and indexing? Database publishing? All of this and much more are available in Corel Ventura. The sad thing is that Corel’s management is blind to the technological powerhouse they already have in house.
The last version of Corel Ventura was released in 2002. While it supports native CorelDRAW files, it only supports through CorelDRAW 11. This requires users of newer versions to save backwards. There are many parts of Ventura made with “common engines” from CorelDRAW 11. This includes printing, publishing to PDF, fills and much more. From a learning curve standpoint, many parts of Ventura will feel immediately familiar to users of CorelDRAW.
In order for Ventura to be put in the box, a large amount of money would need to be spent to update all of those engines to match those in CorelDRAW. The most costly part of the development cycle would be bringing the capabilities of Unicode to Ventura so that it would support the variety of character sets and languages used. There is no doubt in my mind that Corel’s hesitation to even utter the word Ventura is because the cost to resume development would be very expensive. I do feel that a good marketing plan would sell enough copies of Ventura to turn a profit. But that isn’t even the focus of my argument today.
If CorelDRAW doesn’t have the tools needed to lay out a publication, where do users turn? I believe many of them turn to Adobe InDesign. It certainly is not an inexpensive product. So if users are willing to spend money on InDesign, why not give them an option to purchase a Corel product? Because of the high cost of buying InDesign as a standalone product, most users will probably buy the Adobe Creative Suite as it is a “better value”. This means they spend even more money with Corel’s competition. It also means they get a copy of Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop in the suite. Since the Adobe tools are integrated with InDesign, the users are apt to spend more and more time in Adobe products and less time in CorelDRAW and Corel PHOTO-PAINT. While those users may buy one or two more upgrades to CorelDRAW, eventually I feel they will convert completely to the Adobe suite.
There were two occasions in the past where Corel did bundle Ventura with CorelDRAW. It was included at no extra charge with CorelDRAW 5 and a premium suite was offered for CorelDRAW 8. So let’s say that Corel did decide to put Ventura in the suite again. They could still offer a version without Ventura at a similar price to the current suite. A “premium” version of the suite could be offered with Ventura at a cost of maybe $150 more. Certainly the extra cost could be lower or higher. Would the user needing a publishing tool now pay extra for Corel’s solution or would they pay much more for the Adobe solution? I believe that if Corel provided a good solution for a good price that many users would spend their money with Corel.
Corel could also develop a new tool with a new name. Adobe did the same thing when they killed PageMaker. They developed a new tool, InDesign, and gave it the ability to bring in PageMaker files. This meant they didn’t have to deal with all of the legacy issues of PageMaker. It would make perfect sense for Corel to do the same thing.
While I and other “power users” think this idea has a lot of merit, I doubt Corel will even come to their senses and revive Ventura. Until this year I have used Ventura to produce all of the books and tutorials produced by Graphics Unleashed. While we still use Ventura for some projects, the majority of future publishing tasks will be done in InDesign. I once said that Ventura would have to be pried out of my cold dead hands. Well, my hands are pretty darned cold these days. I just can’t continue to use a product when the manufacturer won’t even publically admit that it exists.
What do you think? If Corel offered a premium suite including a revamped Ventura, would you buy it?