It's not often that retail giant Tesco is given underdog status, but technology analysts are sure to claim it's bitten off more than it can chew by announcing a range of own-brand software that could compete with Microsoft Office.
The UK-based supermarket chain will release various products – from an office suite to an antivirus tool – at the end of this month, with titles likely to be £20 or less each.
A number of companies have tried, and failed, to provide mass-market competition to Microsoft Office, but Tesco has two key advantages – resources and shelf space. OpenOffice has succeeded in attracting people away from Microsoft, but its small-scale success in the grand scheme of things has been achieved through word of mouth and with limited financial backing.
Tesco is a multinational giant expected to boast £1bn profit in the past six months, and it can count on millions of people walking through its doors each week. In short, it's got a lot more muscle than most when it comes to entering a new market.
Don't expect businesses to give Tesco's offering a second glance, but to the uninitiated home user – who may already go to Tesco to pick up an entry-level PC or a mobile phone – the presence of this cheap alternative to Office on the shelves might prove quite attractive. That's not to say Tesco will pick up a large share of the market in the near term, but, as they say, every little helps.