Despite its woes, there are two determining factors that have been cited as the primary reasons for the switch from Microsoft products to Corel products. Most importantly, Corel's WordPerfect software is thought to be cheaper than Microsoft's competing Works suite. At a time when both consumers and technology firms are looking to trim costs by any means possible, the lower cost of WordPerfect is an enticing incentive for PC makers.Microsoft has had to back off a little on the OEM front, and that has resulted in the kind of competition that may have eventually led to the Corel switch.
A cost-motivated switch to WordPerfect seems to bode well for free office suites like OpenOffice, which should at least offer much of the same functionality and file compatibility as WordPerfect, but it's not that easy. OpenOffice just doesn't have the brand recognition of the WordPerfect name, even though my only recollections of WordPerfect are of older versions of the software that required painfully arcane key combinations to perform simple tasks.