24 January 2006

Word (Im)Perfect

Remember when WordPerfect was king of the castle? No, not many people do. But once upon a time, WordPerfect occupied the same position that Microsoft Word does today.

If nothing else, that should teach companies that nothing is permanent (and hence that there is hope even for the underdog), and that they should always listen to their customers (which WordPerfect signally failed to do by not coming out with a Microsoft Windows version alongside the one for MS-DOS).

Unfortunately, Corel, the current owners of WordPerfect, don't seem to have got either message. The latest version of its office suite, WordPerfect Office X3 meekly goes along with Microsoft's dominance of the office sector, and does not support the new OpenDocument format which is fast building into the first serious rival to Office formats since, well, WordPerfect.

This is a pity, both for WordPerfect and for OpenDocument. If Corel wants to be anything other than a me-too product, it needs to support OpenDocument. Its failure in this regard is particularly odd since it sits on the technical committee that drew up OpenDocument in the first place. Somehow, I don't think WordPerfect is going to be king of the castle again anytime in the near future.

No comments: