No one appreciates saving money more than small-business owners. Corel is betting on that with its $599 WordPerfect Office 12 Small Business Edition, which it touts as a low-cost suite alternative to the market leader, Microsoft's $749 Office 2003 Small Business Edition. But is a $150 saving enough incentive to make the switch?
The answer depends on how willing you are to leave behind what you know. Even with Corel's assurances of app-by-app compatibility with Office and the addition of the great Bloomba e-mail client (rechristened WordPerfect Mail) and the Paint Shop Pro 9 image editor, I found that forgetting Office was not easy.
That isn't to say the Corel program fails to provide all the features you need to operate a small business - including a host of OfficeReady templates for business management and planning. However, even if your company standardises on WordPerfect Office 12, you'll eventually have to work with files - created by someone using Office - that have lost some functionality.
I managed to switch from my standard Office apps to their WordPerfect equivalents with only a few hiccups. For example, I missed Word's Reviewing toolbar, which lets me see or hide the changes made by the various people who worked on the file - WordPerfect's Review Document feature works only for files created in that program.
Verdict WordPerfect Office 12 SBE is a solid Office alternative, with the price you pay for it - swimming against the current being the first of many minor concessions.
Corel WordPerfect Office 12: Small Business Edition
Price: $599 Distributor: IT Direct Australia Phone: 1800 658 850 URL: www.itdlogistics.com.au; www.corel.com Specifications: 166MHz PIII processor; Windows XP (SP1)/Server 2003/NT/2000/98 SE; 64MB RAM (128MB recommended); minimum 195MB hard disk space (maximum 399MB); CD-ROM drive.
FEATURES: 8 VALUE: 7 OVERALL: 7