A software bundle is a collection of different software that is distributed together or that comes with the purchase of hardware. For example, if a person buys a new computer, the operating system and any programs that come with it are considered a software bundle. By distributing the software together, the user gets all the software they need for a lower price than buying it separately, and the manufacturer gets their software distributed. There are several different types of software bundles available, and each can be geared toward a particular niche and a particular market. It just depends on what type of software or hardware you are looking for.
Many times the software included in a software bundle are related in some way so it makes sense to distribute them together. For instance, Microsoft® Office is a popular software bundle. This bundle features programs that all have something to do with creating and presenting information—whether it is spreadsheets, reports, graphs, or presentations. By having all the programs together, a user can present their information in different ways and may even be able to import information from one program into other related programs. One example of this is importing a table from a spreadsheet into a report typed in a word processor.
It is not just computers that can come with software bundles, however. Some video game systems come with a game bundle, though many times this is done as a device to get a person to buy the platform. A video game manufacturer may also use new technology to bundle old games together on one disk. Bundles are even available for the retail market. These software bundles include items like a retail computer, cash drawer, and the software to make the hardware run.
The licensing for a software bundle may also be slightly different from software bought individually. If the bundle came with hardware, the license may not allow for the software to be shared with other hardware. Similarly, it may not be permissible for a user to unbundle software, meaning separating software to use on different machines. For example, if a bundle came with a word processor and a spreadsheet, the license may not allow for a user to install the word processor on one computer and the spreadsheet on another. Different versions of software have different licenses, however, so it is wise to read the license before installing the software.