Talk of the looming death of DOS may turn out to be premature, based on a preview of a new version of WordPerfect's best-selling word-processing program Monday at Sundance.
The company unveiled Word-Perfect 6.0 for DOS during a press conference that attracted representatives from about 30 of the computer industry's leading publications. They included representatives from InfoWorld, PC Week, PC World, The Cobb Group, BYTE, Computer World, Computer Shopper, PC Computing and Lan Times.WordPerfect plans to begin shipping version 6.0 of its word-processing program, which still being field tested, in June or July. The company expects to have versions of WordPerfect 6.0 available in 16 different languages within 30 days of its initial release.
WordPerfect 6.0 succeeds WordPerfect 5.1, which has consistently ranked as the best-selling word-processing program since its introduction in 1989.
"Like version 5.1, WordPerfect 6.0 for DOS will set a new standard in information processing," said Alan Ashton, president. "The hundreds of new and enhanced features in WordPerfect 6.0 for DOS allow people to accomplish tasks never before possible with a word processor."
WordPerfect 6.0 blurs the line between the DOS and Windows environments, blends spreadsheet and graphics programs with a word-processing program, and adds sound and in/out fax capability to the computer.
"WordPerfect 6.0 for DOS is a product that goes beyond word processing by providing solutions to a variety of day-to-day tasks," said Todd Ashman, product marketing director for WordPerfect for DOS. "The new fax, sound, E-mail and spreadsheet capabilities found in this upgrade help make WordPerfect the application from which all personal computing originates."
Version 6.0 may, in fact, enable WordPerfect to hold on to WordPerfect devotees who are not fully ready to move to Windows programs despite heavy pressure from other players in the software industry.
WordPerfect has 84 percent of the DOS word-processing market share. Company officials expect 30 percent to 40 percent of the 11 million WordPerfect DOS users to switch to the new version during the coming year. Word- Perfect 6.0 is compatible with documents made with the two previous versions of the program.
Although DOS sales have declined in recent years, DOS word-processing applications still outsell Windows applications, said Dave Moon, senior vice president of development. He noted 55 million DOS-only computers are in use today.
Moon said sales of Windows products continue to surge and WordPerfect's attention will increasingly be on that sector of the market.
But the company remains committed to providing the best tools possible for customers who want to continue using a DOS program.
"We kind of feel it's the fourth quarter of the game and all the other competitors have left the playing field," Moon said. "We're still going to score some points."
WordPerfect 6.0 has all the bells and whistles, ribbons and bows, buttons and bars, check boxes and pull-down menus a computer user could want. Among the several hundred new features developers have come up with are:
- Built-in spreadsheet functions, including computing functions and cell formatting features.
- Graphics capabilities, including the ability to move and size images using the mouse with instantaneous corresponding text changes - such as irregular wrap-around.
- WordPerfect Coach, a help feature that guides a user through the execution of a function step-by-step.
- QuickFinder, an indexing function that creates document databases and can search local or network directories based on user-defined criteria in seconds.
- Grammatik 5, a grammar checker, is built in.
- WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editing in three modes - text mode, graphics mode and page mode.
- The ability to work on up to nine documents, displayed as windows, at a time.
- Ability to imbed voice comments in documents.
- An enhanced envelope creation process, including bar code imprinting.
- Drag-and-drop graphics.
- Scalable fonts, selectable merge and color printing.
WordPerfect 6.0 for DOS will retail at $495 for a full package. Full-package upgrades for existing WordPerfect customers will retail at $129.