WordPerfect 'bloodied and battered' before Novell buyout, former exec testifies

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  • radically_independent Orem, Utah
    Dec. 8, 2011 3:02 p.m.

    CHS 85 - you really have no clue do you. Being technically superior has little to do with it. The industry is littered with the remains of technically superior products. If Microsoft came in and said for $85 a seat, we can replace WordPerfect, Lotus 1-2-3, and Harvard Graphics which you are currently paying $150 a seat... purchasing and business lines drove the decision based on economics. Word was good enough.

    WordPerfect was far to slow to embrace WSIWG technology. In fact they were horrible at it. Even in their DOS version they had issues with fonts and kerning. For law offices that lived in fixed spaced fonts, no big deal. But use a proportionally spaced fonts, all bets were off. They took way too long to fix these issues and it opened the door to value based pricing from Microsoft.

    As to the comment above about dBase, Ashton-Tate didn't loose to Microsoft. Access didn't come into the forefront until well after. Ashton-Tate lost its way because dBase 4.0 was a buggy product rushed out the door. Borland with Paradox kicked its butt. I know, I was a product manager at Ashton-Tate.

  • Johnny Triumph American Fork, UT
    Dec. 8, 2011 12:58 p.m.

    Interesting that Microsoft called Peterson to the stand as their witness but he seemingly said that WP followed the rules set forward by Microsoft and that Microsoft cut corners to win the race. Pretty clear-cut against Microsoft, in my mind. It's looking more and more like Novell will win this thing. It seems that there is pretty stong evidence that MS cut the right corners.

  • NT Springville, UT
    Dec. 8, 2011 10:59 a.m.

    Still hard to believe that Novell blew $1.4B on a sinking ship.

    Novell might have lived a little longer had it not done that deal.

  • Shawnm750 West Jordan, UT
    Dec. 8, 2011 9:21 a.m.

    I'm not sure what Novell expected back then. They were at the mercy of a company that was producing an operating system that was rapidly gaining in popularity, that most software creators were trying to get on board with, including other companies that wrote word processing software. All while Microsoft was creating one of their own. If it was true misdirection, then yes, Microsoft should be held accountable. But from what it sounds like, Microsoft suffered from disjointed internal communications, like any other large company then or now. If there were talking about of both sides of their mouth to external partners, it's probably because there was a lot of that going on inside too. A lot of people inside Microsoft probably did believe that OS/2 was the future, but had those beliefs dashed when Windows became the cash-cow. Lots of business leaders pit their own people against each other to drive innovation. Enzo Ferrari was notorious for doing that...

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    Dec. 8, 2011 8:25 a.m.

    I still like Word Perfect better than Microsoft Word.

  • CHS 85 Sandy, UT
    Dec. 8, 2011 12:04 a.m.

    Oh boo hoo. If WordPerfect is the superior product, why isn't it on every computer? It sounds like WordPerfect backed the wrong product, got out-marketed, out-developed, out-foxed by another company and wishes to make their lawyers rich. Not every company who thinks they make a great product is going to be successful.

    My VHS tapes won't play in my DVD player. I think I'll sue Samsung, the maker of my DVD player for not including special consideration just for my tapes.

  • Mike in Cedar City Cedar City, Utah
    Dec. 7, 2011 8:53 p.m.

    I worked with both Word and Word Perfect in the legal market for years. I can tell you that Word Perfect was, and still is, the superior word processing product period! Microsoft used its operating system platform and superior marketing to capture (some say corner) the market. Word lacks certain critical legal functions and presents serious security issues when used in a security sensitive environment.

  • L Central, Utah
    Dec. 7, 2011 7:40 p.m.

    @Wanda -

    WordPerfect may have been hard for you, but no harder for me that other software of that era, in fact Word Perfect was easier than most.

    WordPerfect was not the only company to have problems with Microsoft practices, most of which are gone now. You can take once popular programs like d-base(c) etc. whose demise was due to well designed actions of Microsoft.

    For instance sometimes the documentation that came with other programs equaled what Microsoft was selling their product for (at or near a loss) so others could not compete with them regardless how good they might have been.

    Microsoft didn't get rich by not being aggressive.

    By the way, if you are a great fan of Word(c) you may be interested in Open Office(c) which is free and reads and writes in appropriate formats. I happen to even think it is better!

  • TRUTH Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 7, 2011 7:22 p.m.

    I sold microsoft back in 1993-96 and many customers in NYC preferred WP, but we priced them out of the deal.....we didn't hold a gun to the customers head.......it was economics!

  • Klipsch SLC, UT
    Dec. 7, 2011 5:02 p.m.

    I sat in a conference room at the old excelsier hotel in provo in the early 90s and listened to Alan Ashton extol the many virtues of OS2.... demonstrated a beta working version of wordperfect for OS2. he made it very clear that OS2 was the future.

  • Wanda Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 7, 2011 4:12 p.m.

    Get real. Word Perfect was not user friendly - personally I always thought it was created by the devil, but kidding aside, the other problem is that it made it difficult to communicate electronically and attach a document in Microsoft Word to another person only using Word Perfect - or vice versa. Life has been much easier with most people using Microsoft Word. Get over it!