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Major threat to Microsoft: Tesco Office suite

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.

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