Who’s Got the Better Windows Office Suite? Corel or Microsoft?

  • Written By: P. Hayes
  • Published: May 12 2000

Who’s Got the Better Windows Office Suite?
Corel or Microsoft?

P. Hayes - May 12 , 2000


The subject of this note is the never-ending question within desktop office suites, " What's better, Corel's or Microsoft's?" Generally, this question is answered from an emotional perspective, based entirely on the specific administrator's and/or end users comfort level. There is no one correct answer, both desktop office suites excel in specific areas and pale in others. The contents of this note will pit the two systems against each other in four specific areas:

  • Product Functionality: Feature functions contained within the product

  • Product Technology: Protocols, databases, and platforms

  • Product Cost: Initial cost of training, implementation, and support

  • Service and Support: Vendor support following purchase and implementation


Product Strategy and Trajectory:

TEC analysts began assessing the pros and cons of both office suites through the construction of a detailed information repository with over 300 detail-level criteria, arranged hierarchically in our proprietary software-modeling tool, TESS. Each hierarchical category within the model is assigned a value, which represents its priority relative to other categories, or "weight". Figure 1 shows weights for the top-level categories in the Desktop 2000 Office Suite Model.

Figure I Top Level Rating


Figure II represents Product Functionality
versus Product Technology

In functionality and product technology Microsoft's Office 2000 takes a slight lead. This is primarily due to the advanced web based integration features and integration with the standard Microsoft Windows desktop. In addition, Microsoft Office 2000 includes an e-mail client (Outlook 2000), which is lacking from Corel's offering. Corel excels in ease of use and reduced training costs. Overall, both suites offer a plethora of features from advanced desktop publishing to robust databases.

Corel WordPerfect Office 2000 takes the edge in enhanced accessibility through the inclusion of Dragon Software's Naturally Speaking application, which allows a user to "talk" to the application rather than type. In addition, the Corel 2000 Suite includes a hardware component headset/microphone combo intended for speech recognition.

Figure III represents Product Functionality
versus Product Cost

Corel's WordPerfect 2000 Office Suite Standard is competitively priced at $299.95 (MSRP-USD) as opposed to Microsoft Office 2000 Small Business edition priced at $349.95 (MSRP-USD). However, both Microsoft and Corel's top of the line Office Suites are both $449.95 (MSRP-USD), eliminating any price edge Corel may have had at the Professional Office Level. As can be seen from the above graph, both suites perform well given their relative cost.

Figure IV represents Product Cost
versus Service and Support

Corel maintains a slight edge in cost, while maintaining a very respectable support rating. Microsoft's Office support takes the lead with its robust web support, including an office software update page, a heavily production-tested and experienced support system via telephone (albeit 80% outsourced) and onsite support when entirely necessary. Corel offers web support but it pales in comparison to Microsoft's site in terms of content and navigability. Corel's telephone and onsite support offers trained professionals for both on and off site support, none of which is outsourced.



Microsoft's Office 2000 has been shown as the winner, but only beat out Corel's Office 2000 suite by 3.55% in our proprietary software-modeling tool (TESS). However, neither corporate viability nor corporate strategy was compared in this note; had they been Microsoft would have widened their lead by approximately 25%.

Both suites offer a dizzying array of functionality, disparate office suite interoperability and extra's to make almost any desktop user happy. So why should a user go with one over the other? The answer is really quite simple; most users don't have a choice. The majority (60%) of new corporate and consumer based computer systems come pre-installed with Microsoft Office small business edition, negating the need to buy an alternate desktop office suite.

So what about the other 40%? Chances are that over half of those users or corporations will choose Microsoft Office, simply because 'everyone else has it'. Corel is an extremely good desktop office suite, easily rivaling Microsoft's offering; unfortunately for Corel the proliferation of Microsoft's desktop suite has made it the de-facto standard for corporations everywhere.

Due to the current and ongoing proliferation of the Linux O/S, Corel has packaged a Linux version of they're office product. The additional Linux office suite sales for Corel will improve their corporate standings and financial viability, narrowing the gap between the software vendors ever so slightly.

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