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July 23, 1999
Suchitra Singh Roy
Corel, the Canadian software giant famous for its image manipulation software CorelDRAW, has temporarily removed all its products from the India market.
The reason for the drastic measure is a clipart map in the CorelDRAW 8 package that shows a disputed part of Kashmir as not belonging to India.
A large part of Kashmir is governed by India and a smaller part by Pakistan. Both nations lay claim to each other's territory in Kashmir.
Some international maps mark Kashmir as a disputed area, while drawing a dividing line between the areas that are held by the two neighbours.
The CorelDRAW 8 clipart, however, shows parts of Kashmir to which India lays claim to be not part of India at all.
Corel learnt of the offending map on July 15 when its distributor in Pune, Datapro Infoworld, brought it to their notice.
Immediately, Corel executives verbally notified all Indian distributors to return the consignments of CorelDRAW 8 as well as stop sales of all their range of products.
Apart from returning consignments, distributors have also been advised to remove the software from their own systems.
Datapro Infoworld Chairman and Managing Director Rajeev Arora told Rediff "Actually, our reseller, Link Software, brought it to our notice. We immediately notified the Indian office of Corel in New Delhi. Later on, we also sent an email regarding this."
Corel Country Manager Ajoy Mohan Kapur, in turn, shot off a message to the multinational's Ottawa headquarters.
Yesterday, the Corel brass met to discuss the issue. But Kapur today told Rediff that a decision has not yet been arrived at.
Corel distributor Godrej Pacific Technology's Amrish Deshpande told this reporter "It is an issue concerning the sovereignty of the country and its geography. Knowingly no Indian would use it."
Though the map has been noticed only in CorelDRAW 8, the law department at the Corel headquarters in Ottawa wants to preview clipart in all Corel products before further shipment to India. Hence the decision to withhold sale of Corel products in the country.
Kapur explains "I have told my distributors (to withhold sales) verbally as the formal note is being prepared by headquarters. Till then it is the company's moral responsibility to at least spread the word among distributors and resellers."
A CorelDRAW dealer in New Delhi that Rediff contacted feels the company might replace the current version 8.0 through an agency. "It is always cheaper to replace software than repair it," he pointed out.
Four years ago, software giant Microsoft had faced a similar situation when its Windows 95 operating system shipped into Asia and India with a similar map involving the Kashmir dispute.
Indian customs had then refused to clear the shipment. Microsoft eventually replaced the Windows 95 for the country before shipping began.
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