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Startup Hosts Custom Apps for Smallbiz

Software developers will be able develop and sell hosted applications to small business customers through a new service launched in beta today by startup SoftwareMarkets, Inc.

The company will host and market a wide range of certified applications customized to the needs of small businesses by independent developers. The first wave of Java developers are joining the managed beta program now, with the aim of launching a catalog of applications early next year.

Small businesses will be able to select applications from the online catalog or request new applications or modifications through the SoftwareMarkets web site. The company claims this will give them access to custom applications from a talented community of developers, at much lower prices than any service currently available.

"Small businesses — which number more than 7.4 million in the US alone — desperately need customized, affordable software," said company founder and CEO David Doust. "SoftwareMarkets allows developers to become entrepreneurs while providing much needed applications to the small business market."

Developers create their applications online in a hosted development environment developed by SoftwareMarkets specifically for the purpose. It provides free application hosting, online object and relational databases, a J2EE-compliant application server, development and deployment tools.

Once the applications are ready to offer to customers, SoftwareMarkets hosts the applications on its servers and provides marketing and support. Developers are free to set their own price for the application. SoftwareMarkets will take a commission on sales.

The company recently previewed its service at the JavaOne developers' show. "When I learned what SoftwareMarkets was offering developers, I immediately asked how I could be a part of it," said Rick George, president and CEO of Java developer Chameleon Software. "Using SoftwareMarkets not only radically improves our time to market, but it also lets us focus on what we do best — developing software applications."