Can Woolworths' software range attract cost-conscious buyers away from expensive Microsoft products?

The company behind Tesco's range of PC software has signed a deal with Woolworths, with the UK retailer soon to release seven titles for home users.

White-label software developer Formjet said the Woolworths-branded products will be available from April in 160 stores as well as the Woolworth catalogue, which is circulated to over six million people.

This article appears in the June 07 issue of PC Advisor, available now in all good newsagents.

Mimicking Tesco's software range launched last October, Woolworth's line-up includes an internet-security package, an antivirus product and a home office suite. However, it will also offer a backup tool and 'Braintastic', which Formjet describes as its "first foray into the edutainment market". Formjet will provide support for the software.

"This new range of utility software products will allow our customers a low entry point into an expanding home PC software market," said Woolworths' trading manager Gerry Berkley.

When Tesco first announced its entry into the software market, many analysts hyped it as a major challenge to Microsoft, but the impact on the market is unclear so far. While Formjet claimed that "the level of sales has been good" when it announced Tesco's software was to be made available online in February, it's unlikely that the white-label software has made much of a dent on Microsoft's shipments.

Yet Tesco and now Woolworths are in a good position to grab shoppers' attention, and may go some way to change people's perception of the value of software. Industry heavyweights such as Symantec may have a point in claiming the extra bells and whistles in the Norton 360 Security Suite make it worth every penny of the £60 RRP, but budget-conscious buyers who require only basic protection will question its price when they see Tesco Internet Security in their local supermarket for £20.