Enterprise software provider PowerEasy is announcing its first application for Apple's Xserve at Macworld Expo.

The application will be bundled with Apple hardware and PowerEasy installation services. The announcement represents a major turning point for Apple in its attempt to break out of the desktop market and move up to the server-based mid-market.

PowerEasy ERP consists of an accounting package for financial management, an order management package, an inventory management solution, and e-commerce software.

PowerEasy chief operating officer Kikkeri Balvenkatesh said: "This is built on Mac OS X and it has the stability of the Unix environment."

The PowerEasy applications are built on top of Sybase's Adaptive Server Enterprise 12.5 relational database management solution and are optimized for that environment.

Earlier this year, Sybase became the first enterprise-level database provider to port a major database management application to OS X.

One industry analyst said that an ERP application for Xserve is a significant breakthrough in the enterprise for Apple.

"This is a notable data point for Apple in that it is a higher-end application for the Xserve platform, said Nathanial Palmer, chief analyst for Delphi Group.”

PowerEasy will roll out its solution in stages, first targeting business users who have outgrown a single Mac client-server solution and are moving into a multiuser environment, according to Balvenkatesh.

He said: "A typical customer profile is in the small to mid-market, perhaps workgroups within large companies with $1 million in sales. Eventually we will also target larger companies in such areas as manufacturing."

PowerEasy ERP will ship in the first quarter and will be priced at $40,000 per CPU. The company will also offer a two-CPU license with the Mac Xserve hardware and installation for $100,000. UK pricing has been requested.