The world's largest PC maker has teamed up with Beyond.com to open an online software store, acting on an agreement announced early last month. Inside of Compaq's main e-commerce pages, consumers can purchase more than 5,000 third-party software titles.
The alliance reflects a growing trend among computer vendors to become a permanent part of their customers' computing lives, selling them everything from software titles to monthly ISP services. Last month, Dell opened Gigabuys, a similar software store on its own site, while Gateway took a stake in NECX, a Massachusetts-based reseller of PC equipment and software.
The trend has a number of causes. With PC prices descending, computer makers have to tap additional and recurring revenue streams from their consumers to maintain their historic rates of growth. At the same time, as customers increasingly purchase their PCs from manufacturers, they are relying less on local resellers.
The Compaq Software Store connects users to Beyond.com's inventory, which offers business and consumer software applications that can be downloaded over the Internet. Compaq's logo sits prominently on the Beyond.com site, and although Beyond.com technically sells the software to the customer, Compaq receives a portion of the sale. The site carries the brand of both companies.
The link, according to Compaq sources, will make it easier for small and medium-sized business customers to also buy applications when ordering Compaq products.