Every little helps?

According to today’s Guardian, Tesco is moving into software…

First Wal-Mart. Now Microsoft. There is, it seems, no global giant that Tesco is not prepared to take on.

While a new division of the UK’s biggest grocer is currently working on a £250m plan to open 150 supermarkets in the mighty Wal-Mart’s US backyard, the supermarket chain is also about to launch a range of own-brand software that will compete head on with the company whose products are loaded into 95% of the world’s computers.

Tesco is aiming to substantially undercut Microsoft, offering software titles for less than £20. It claims to be the first retailer to offer a range of own-label software, taking the same approach to the world of technology as grocers have traditionally taken to baked beans and soap powder. The initial range includes an office suite, two security/anti-virus products, a personal finance tool, CD/DVD burners, and a photo editing product. Microsoft Office sells for up to £300.

The Tesco software will be available in more than 100 Tesco stores from this month, with plans to roll out the range across the UK over the coming year. It will complement Tesco’s entry into the computer hardware market earlier this year…

Hmmm…. This may be less exciting than it appears. The software will be provided by an outfit called Formjet, a Cambridge-based organisation which “acquires territorial rights to ‘alternative’ software products, and markets, sells, distributes and supports these products in place of the vendor in the UK”. The office software Tesco will be selling is a suite written by Ability. It retails already in the UK for £29. So basically, this isn’t about Tesco getting into software, just about Tesco selling other people’s software, much as it sells other companies’ baked beans. Still, it’ll be interesting to see if the supermarket giant’s formidable marketing power can dent the MS Office monopoly in the UK.