I've been amazed at how intimidated people are by Microsoft Access. Granted Excel is much more flexible (initially) and workers of the world tend to gravitate towards ease of use. Access is not quite a watered down version of MS SQL Server but we'll call it that for the purposes of this post. There have been several companies launched recently that recognize the need for a better Access-like tool using Excel as the starting point. Here's the rundown:
DabbleDB: "The power of a database with point-and-click simplicity." Trackia: "At last, a usable database." Blist: "Create, organize, share, connect" (what???) or "Got a list, make a blist" (again, what???)
Blist has not launched yet but both DabbleDB and Trackvia are available today.