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Corel to lure system builders

Corel has released an entry-level image editing program with a strategy aimed at system builders.

Snapfire Plus is a $39.99 program aimed at digital camera users looking for more features than the simple programs that come with their cameras.

To get more attention to the program, there’s a free version called simply Snapfire – with fewer features – that system builders builders can bundle with PCs or host for download. When launched it will display information about the benefits of upgrading to Snapfire Plus, but can also be programmed to include ads or promotions from the reseller.

“White box vendors will be interested because of the messaging capabilities can drive customers back to their e-stores or physical locations,” said Fiazz Walji, Corel’s director of channel sales. The ads “can be anything they sell.”

If the user allows, Snapfire can connect to the reseller’s system so content can be refreshed. “Not only are we providing a product (Snapfire Plus) they can sell, but it also provides a vehicle to keep in touch with the customer,” said Walji.

New acquisition
At the same time Snapfire was released Ottawa-based Corel also announced making its first acquisition since becoming a public company again, paying about US$192 million to acquire the assets of a competitor, DVD software maker Intervideo.

Corel believes Intervideo will complement its photo sharing and editing products with a broad portfolio of tools to create, distribute and display multimedia content on PCs. Intervideo, based in Fremont, Calif., gained a stronger foothold in the market last year through an acquisition of its own. It bought Ulead, a developer of video imaging and DVD authoring software for desktop, server, mobile and Internet platforms such as DVD Movie Factory and PhotoImpact, which competes against Corel Paintshop Pro. Intervideo is also known for its WinDVD and WinDVD Creator line of products, which it sells online.

Corel has spent the last few years retrenching in the consumer space following its takeover by Vector Capital, which started making shares available again in May.

Corel chief executive David Dobson said the company was attracted by Intervideo’s position in the high-definition and Blu-Ray sectors of the consumer market, as well as its relationships with eight of the 10 top original equipment manufacturers.

Dobson said Intervideo has a user base of 175 million installations and a significant presence in the Asia-Pacific region, which Corel has identified as a potential area of growth. Its agreements with PC manufacturers, meanwhile, could spur some new strategic partnerships, he added. 

“We’ll be an aggregator across a very important market space, which is the digital imaging space,” he said. Earlier this year, for example, Lenovo agreed to install Corel’s Small Business software suite on its 3000 line of notebooks. “Now we think there’s an opportunity to go back into those accounts with Intervideo,” Dobson said.