RealTime IT News

AT&T Dips Toe in Online Software Delivery

Seeing market potential in the growing number of broadband Internet access subscribers, AT&T has set out to determine consumer interest in online software delivery.

The firm Wednesday launched a national trial of what it hopes will become one of the world's largest digital software libraries.

The new AT&T Software Store, aimed at consumers and small business owners, features 41,000 software titles, including TaxCut from H&R Block, McAfee's VirusScan and Symantec's Norton AntiVirus. In addition, for a limited time, the company said Symantec if offering two exclusive introductory offers: a $5 instant rebate and $40 mail-in rebate on Norton AntiVirus 2003 which brings the final price down to $4.95, and a $10 instant rebate and $50 mail-in rebate on Norton Internet Security 2003 which brings the final price down to $9.95.

AT&T said it would run the trial for six months, with e-commerce outsourcing specialist Digital River building and hosting the online store. Digital River will supply the digital software library and will also provide order management, digital product fulfillment, customer service and fraud prevention.

AT&T said the move is another example of its intentions to package communications, entertainment and e-commerce services together.

According to IDC, consumers spent $1.16 billion on digitally delivered software last year, and the research firm predicts that number will reach $3.46 billion by 2005.

"Thirty-nine million consumers in the United States have a high-speed Internet connection, and they crave the immediate access to utilities, graphics packages and system enhancements that digital software delivers with a single mouse click," said John Polumbo, president of AT&T Consumer Services. "AT&T's broad online presence, and our marketing and distribution capabilities give consumers and small business owners a convenient, secure and trusted resource for their software needs."