Online Software Store for Government Shoppers Debuts

A new online software store specifically for government shoppers recently opened its doors at www.beyond.com/gov.htm. Launched by the new Beyond.com Corp. (formerly Software.net) the site boasts several features to make software shopping easier.

"The newly designed site is more government-friendly, more tailored to purchasing needs," said Kendall Fargo, vice president of enterprise and government sales for Beyond.com. Government employees can browse more than 30,000 titles online, reading product descriptions, recommendations and reviews. They can order via credit card or use a purchase order. More than 3,200 products are available for immediate electronic delivery.

"And the products available for download are the top products in the industry," Fargo said. The site also contains a frequently updated "top 10 list" of hot products in the public sector.

Aside from taking electronic orders, Fargo said Beyond.com's government center also will provide electronic maintenance for state and local agencies with multiple-year contracts through its enterprise download manager product called Cache Manager. Available free of charge, Cache Manager 2.0 automatically downloads the latest versions of software applications to an agency's network or systems administrator who can then distribute them to the appropriate desktops. For many agencies, "the biggest problem is keeping all employees current on the software they are standardizing on. If some locations are using current versions and some previous [versions], you will have incompatibility problems, miscommunications and productivity losses, and hiring contractors to install new versions by hand is slow, tedious and expensive. Cache Manager is a free value-added tool," Fargo said.

Later this month, Beyond.com will launch a new online center for Year 2000 software, with reviews and recommendations to help buyers in their purchasing decisions. "We realize there's a lot of focus to come up with solutions and a lot of software products coming out. We want to make these products as accessible as possible to our government customers," Fargo said.

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