Beyond.com Launches Co-Branded MySoftware Store

As the threat of Onsale (Nasdaq: ONSL) and Egghead.com (Nasdaq: EGGS) combining their resources to grab a larger market share in online software sales looms, online software superstore Beyond.com (Nasdaq: BYND) is using partners to help extend its brand.

On Thursday, Beyond.com announced the launch of a co-branded online software store for direct marketer and small business software developer MySoftware Company (Nasdaq: MYSW). The store is designed for MySoftware’s small business customers. In addition to building the store, Beyond.com is providing MySoftware with e-commerce solutions, including marketing, transaction processing, order fulfillment and customer support.

Customers will be able to have software shipped to them or electronically download products they order.

“Our more than one million small business customers can now download our award-winning software directly to their desktops,” said Kathy Englar, director of direct marketing and e-commerce. “Beyond.com offers a complete, full-service solution that ultimately enables our customers to instantly access our complete suite of direct marketing tools and complementary Internet services to help them profitably grow their business.”

Symantec Store Also Launches

The news about the MySoftware store launch came one day after Beyond.com and utility software software company Symantec (Nasdaq: SYMC) announced the launch of a co-branded store. That store also offers customers the opportunity to digitally download the software they purchase.

“We now handle online software orders for four of the top eight software publishers as determined by Soft-letter and operate commercial Web sites on behalf of several e-commerce partners, including Compaq Computer Corp. and 3Com Corp.,” said Mark Breier, president and CEO of Beyond.com.

New Competition Emerges

Beyond.com is the most trafficked computer products Web site, according to Media Metrix, but Onsale’s Wednesday announcement that it and Egghead.com have agreed on a merger deal worth about $400 million ups the ante. Onsale and Egghead expect that their combined venture will become the most trafficked computer products Web site, with more than three million unique users.

On Tuesday, leading e-commerce retailer Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) launched a new section for electronics — along with a new section for toys — and there is speculation that Amazon.com is considering branching out into online software sales. Rumors have been floating recently about Amazon.com purchasing Beyond.com or Onsale. Now that Onsale has joined forces with Egghead.com, the idea of Onsale being acquired seems more unlikely.

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