Corel’s interim CEO Derek Burney has admitted that returning the company to profitability is just one of numerous "major challenges" he faces.

Burney took up his position after Tuesday’s shock resignation of Corel founder Michael Cowpland. Burney is formerly the company's chief technology officer and executive vice president of engineering, and has been with Corel since 1993.

He is tasked with turning around $23.6 million losses in the second quarter of this year.

Burney also threw light on Cowpland’s departure: "Cowpland mentioned his resignation to the board three months ago. It was his decision. In a large part, the timing of his announcement was to springboard our Linux announcements as he moves to help Linux start-ups."

Corel is planning major launches over the rest of the year, including CorelDraw in November. Analysts believe that, for Corel to again become profitable, it has to spin-off its products.

"As I speak, we're working on our operating budget to get our costs in line with our expected revenue. It's certainly worth considering spin-offs. We won't reject anything, but it's way too premature to comment on," said Burney.

Corel purchased several key graphics applications from MetaCreations earlier this year. These included MetaCreation’s Painter, Kai’s Power Tools, Bryce and KPT Vector Effects packages. The KPT series is a set of top-selling plug-ins for Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, and Bryce is a 3D landscape creation and animation program. MetaCreations divested itself of its graphics applications in order to concentrate on its MetaStream technology. Corel continues to claim that the future of these Mac-graphics applications is safe in its hands.

Last month, Dale Fuller, interim president and CEO of Inprise/Borland said that, strategically, a merger with Corel was still a "sound idea".

Burney agrees: "The door is not permanently closed on any strategic investment. We continue talking with Inprise/Borland. We’re good partners with each other."

Corel’s planned merger with Inprise/Borland failed earlier this year, partially due rumours that Corel was close to bankruptcy.