Blaine Mathieu may be the new general manager of Corel Corp.’s digital imaging division, but he is basically running a company. Earlier this year Corel acquired Minneapolis-based Jasc Software, makers of Paint Shop Pro. Mathieu’s authority is over the former Jasc organization, which has a suite of graphic arts software products along with a development centre located in the Twin Cities.
In an interview with CDN, he acknowledged his division’s unique position in the market. He said Corel’s digital imaging division is not Adobe Systems, the market leader, who he used to work for.
“Right now Adobe is the leader. There is no doubt. For us it is a battle with Microsoft for No. 2. But the two cornerstones we have is flexibility and customer focus,” he said.
However, Mathieu says he knows Adobe’s weaknesses is in user friendliness and is preparing a plan to exploit that with the help of the channel.
“The key challenge for Corel is to figure out a way to win against Microsoft and Adobe in digital imaging. There are two key things we have to hit on, and they are flexibility as a company.
“We are a small company and we deal with channel partners on their own. That is something Microsoft and Adobe are not interested in doing. It is not worth their while to go after $500,000 deals, but it is relevant for Corel,” he said.
One of his concerns with the digital imaging marketplace and the channel is that there are not enough qualified resellers in this area in Canada.
“A lot of resellers think they understand and when you get to digital imaging not too many people are experts and deal with it head-on.,” he said.
The Corel/Jasc products are discoverable, he added. Resellers can boost revenues by moving customers from trial versions to full versions.
“They will find, with us, the program leads them through a workflow and it is a step-by-step process. Photoshop does not do that. It is very intimidating and you need high expertise. It is not like word processing. What we try to bring is the power of an application like Photoshop, but with ease of use like word processing,” he said.
The challenge, Mathieu, said is to get those resellers to try out the application and work on it.
At stake is about a $300 million business and 10 to 12 per cent of that is in Canada, he said.
The margins vary, he said. There are too many variables and Corel does not lock into a high list structure,” he said.
“This software should not be a loss leader. Digital imaging is a hot space. Today people are buying their first and their second digital camera. This is a true value-add opportunity for OEMs and resellers, to make money on digital camera software and new PCs and other things that are commodity products,” he added.
Corel’s flagship product in this space is PaintShop Pro 10, which Mathieu said has the functionality of a suite on its own with image management and data archiving.