Intel launches software download store for SMBs

A UK store is available after success in the US last year, and the company has also hinted at the launch of a software-as-a-service store later this year

Intel has launched an online software store for small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in the UK and has hinted at the future introduction of a software-as-a-service store.

The Intel Business Exchange (Intel BX) Software Download Store was originally launched in the US a year ago and, on Thursday, versions for UK and German businesses were made available. A version for France will also appear by the end of May.

The UK store includes software categories such as Linux, web development, database management, storage and network management, finance and accounting, security and digital content.

Peter Rohr, a marketing manager in the developer relations division at Intel EMEA, told ZDNet UK on Wednesday that the UK version of Intel BX would have around 170 titles at launch and roughly 500 by the end of the year.

"The applications themselves will be a mix of very well-known packages, such as BitDefender and Kaspersky and [applications from] a lot of smaller and mid-sized ISVs [independent software vendors]," Rohr said. "The good thing is, [SMBs often] don't know these kinds of applications. We give them a good description of the application and which business need it might fill."

Rohr said demo versions would be available to download for many of the applications.

"The basic request to provide a selling platform came from our ISVs and the partner programme that has been running for three years," Rohr said. "On the SMB side, the advantage for them is we have a good selection of SMB-relevant software titles with detailed product descriptions and attractive prices. We provide additional information about software usage models in a special section called Spotlight, and we also provide business analysis articles as well as recommendations of what software to buy for specific business needs."

Intel's software store is run by a Dutch company called Avangate, which is responsible for Intel BX's hosting, billing and processes. "It is our brand, but we are acting more as a power affiliate, since the contract is done between the ISV and Avangate," Rohr said. "We take a commission on every product sold."

Rohr said Intel was looking into what is going on in the market for software-as-a-service (SaaS) and would probably open up another store, to be called the 'Services Store'.

"We would like to get ISVs with SaaS-capable applications into the store and promote them," he said. "This is something we anticipate for launch later this year or maybe early next year."

Regarding whether a SaaS-oriented store would take Intel up against companies such as Salesforce.com, Rohr said this was not the case, as the direct contact for the customer would be the software vendor, not Intel.

The company said the US version of Intel BX has attracted a million visits since its launch last year. Versions of the store are also operational in India and China.

As a launch promotion for the UK, Intel is offering 10 percent off purchases made through the store until 30 June.