BBC News reports that the UK’s leading supermarket is to start selling its own brand of software. The article, which appears to be a “read the press release and regurgitate it” job, says that Tesco reckon that software is too expensive, and that there is too little choice. Presumably nobody at Tesco, despite them having an ISP service, has ever looked at this new-fangled interweb thingy. If they had, they’d be aware that there is actually a good selection of software that’s actually free.
They’re going to offer “office software”, “security systems”, a photo editor, and a CD/DVD writing tool. All these things will be under £20, which may or may not be a good deal, depending on what’s actually being offered. If you need office applications, and either can’t afford, or just don’t want to buy the ubiquitous Microsoft Office, OpenOffice is a free alternative, which works well. The same goes for most of the other categories.
So Tesco are presumably targeting customers who aren’t altogether familiar with the net, and who might prefer to buy a brand they know, even if that brand is better known for ready meals and vegetables.
What’s really interesting is the statement that Tesco have “developed the range of titles with software firm Formjet”. Now 30 seconds of research (that internet thing again) would have revealed to the BBC that Formjet is a software distributor. They have the rights to market and distribute a number of packages developed by companies based in other countries who presumably don’t want to go to the expense of setting up a UK operation. Products include Panda anti-virus and Ability Office. Now either Formjet have taken on a load of developers, and produced new applications from the ground up, or someone is, err, exaggerating. My guess is that some bizarre licensing deal is being done, allowing Tesco to slap their name on existing products.
Update: Since I wrote the above, the BBC article has been edited to mention that Formjet are a distributor, and notes that their products include Ability Office. Either someone woke up, or I’m more influential than I realised.
 My non-existent legal department advised me that saying “telling porkies” might get me into trouble, so I won’t