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Staples goes beyond office supplies, into the cloud

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. — Staples has launched the Staples App Center, an online marketplace for cloud-based business applications.

The App Center will allow small businesses to purchase and manage their apps all in one place. The center boasts a selection of business apps, an administrative console and one consolidated bill.

“Staples’ vision is to provide small businesses with all the products they need to succeed, including the best offerings from the evolving cloud computing market,” said Peter Scala, SVP merchandising, online marketplace. “The App Center is the first of its kind in our industry, and uniquely meets the needs of our customers as they shift to cloud-based apps. Staples recognizes that small businesses would rather spend time growing their business than figuring out which applications they need to run it, so we did the research for them and selected the best cloud-based business solutions.”

The App Center features leading cloud applications from service providers like Google, Carbonite, Mozy, Box, Symantec, McAfee and Brother, along with other developers, and plans to add more in the future. Small businesses can shop for apps by category, get recommendations, perform feature-by-feature comparisons and review product profiles. Most apps come with free trials and monthly subscriptions that can be cancelled at any time, creating risk-free shopping.

The App Center also features a dashboard, which Staples describes as unique to the industry and gives users access to all their apps with one login and perform administrative tasks, such as quickly adding approved users, upgrading apps or reviewing key usage data. For billing administration, customers are charged monthly with one consolidated bill from Staples, with the ability to review line item details on past invoices.