RealTime IT News

Staples.com to Offer Subscription Software, Online Courses

Office supplies retailer Staples.com signed a deal to offer ASP Personable.com's Internet-based subscription software and online courses for its small business customers.

Through an alliance with Personable.com, an ASP that gives users a virtual Windows 2000 desktop, Staples.com customers will have access to the latest versions of various software titles without having to buy them.

Financial arrangements between the companies were not disclosed.

"Personable.com lets small businesses operate like big businesses without the expense and frustration of managing their own networks and performing their own software upgrades," said J.B. Lyon, vice president for the Staples.com Services Center.

"It doesn't always make sense for companies to buy software, and before Personable.com, there were few options for small businesses. renting software can really slash the cost of running a business."

Personable.com provides a virtual desktop that allows customers to select and rent on an as-needed basis from more than 300 online courses and software applications, such as Microsoft Office 2000 Suites and applications.

The company's "pay as you go" model provides online customers with Web-based access to numerous software titles starting at $6.95 per month and includes 10 MB of hard drive space free of charge. In addition, there is a selection of freeware available at no charge to registered users.

"Small and medium-sized companies are at the heart of what we do and those are the businesses that shop Staples.com on a regular basis," said Benjamin Chou, chief executive officer for Personable.com. "Through this arrangement, we can reach these potential subscribers and offer our unique blend of programs and services."

Personable.com features both individual and corporate accounts, and small- to mid-sized businesses can instantly set up virtual private networks through Personable.com where employees can share programs and files regardless of location.

Also available are e-learning applications that enable small businesses to offer significant training packages to employees without heavy administrative or financial burdens, and EasySoft Inc.'s nationwide legal software, a suite of tools that can assist subscribers with a variety of legal matters.