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Is Software a dead industry?

Larry Ellison (Oracle) quotes:

This is also a topic on slashdot, but I am hoping sone useful discussion may happen here.
The slashdot discussion:

Doug Withau
Monday, May 5, 2003

It will only grow as fast as GDP.  Software is a means to an end, not an end in itself.  We forgot that the last 5 years or so.

Monday, May 5, 2003

Prediction:  In the next 5 years business software will be 99% commoditized.  Only a few will remain to provide highly specific customizations

Monday, May 5, 2003

Software as an industry is not dead. We are just going back to the pre-bubble days. Systems that solve real problems will still be needed and in demand; Just look at any other industry, the car industry for example has been refining its products for 100 years or thereabouts.

The one who comes up with a better mousetrap will still make it big in this industry. I think we will see less and less of new platforms, but businesses will still need software.

This is just history repeating itself again. The arena in which we play will change, but the problems software addresses and solves will reamain.

On the other hand, my crystal ball is broken :-)

Monday, May 5, 2003

Sometimes I wonder. We have barely set the first baby steps in what inevitably looks like the virtualization of our entire existance, and some already want to proclaim we have past the finish line.
Will the 90's never return to the Valley? Sure, but neither will any other decade. Bits however are still taking over from atoms at an accelerating pace, and that means software, software and more software.

Remember how the world was 20 years ago? Barely I bett. Now you might think that things in IT moved at a snales pace between the ENIAC and the first PC, then speeded up a bit and went into overdrive the moment the Web reached critical mass. Babysteps. We are still just turning the cranck shaft on the old Model-T. For the next two decades, you better buckle up.
I'm not saying it is going to be all pretty, but "dead" is a bit of a misnomer ;-).

Just me (Sir to you)
Monday, May 5, 2003

not surprised - software industry had a bubble back in the late 90s just like the stock market did...things go in cycles

the faster you boom, the faster you bust...

Monday, May 5, 2003

I think it's stretching his words a bit to say he declares software dead. He states that the incredible growth is gone and not coming back, specifically citing Silicon Valley and it's past growth rate. He may be wrong about that but I didn't see where he declared software dead.

"It's (Silicon Valley) not coming back ... The industry's maturing. The Valley will never be what it was," Ellison said.

Maybe I need to read the whole article but Barron's is subscription. I'll pass.

Ian Stallings
Monday, May 5, 2003

First, silicon valley isn't called Si because software gets written there, its called that because Shockley Semiconductor left ATT back in the 50's,  Which "begat" Fairchild, which begat Intel, which helped pave the way for 10's of thousands of tech companies in California - most of which do not deliver software as an end product.

Ellison clearly confuses "the valley" with ORCL and SUNW.  Well, not everyone will concede that world revolves around Larry.

Second, software companies have this notion of a grand unified vision, that few others give a crap about.  Large software companies (those who deliver software as their end product - by this I don't mean a Boeing or TRW, which uses software extensively, but their end product is a cruise missle) would have us beleive that there is a grand unified theory which has their trademark branded on all our asses.  Not only do they market this, they truly believe it as religion. That ain't happening.

I'd propose Larry just found out his religion is dead.  Not that there isn't lots of value to be added (money to be made) in writing software. Just nobody's going to be buying into religion, that's all.

Nat Ersoz
Monday, May 5, 2003

Bill Gates quoted out of context:

"You'll find me very optimistic at this point, because at this stage people are underestimating the technology advances that are taking place. That's a bit different than in '99 and 2000, where people were expecting some people -- were expecting things to happen overnight. Now, they've almost lost sight of the fact that the key drivers, the chip miracle, the software advances, and reaching very important milestones."
Monday, May 5, 2003

"Through the technology slump, established companies like Oracle and Microsoft have come up with ways to win more recurring revenue from existing customers through licensing and maintenance fees"

Hopefully, maybe it's just the price gouging and the end of the monolith applications... like ERP.

Joe AA
Monday, May 5, 2003

I think the software industry in the US may very well be dying, and it's the software companies that are killing it.  I fully expect China and India to benefit from their actions.

Monday, May 5, 2003

Its also because of China.  They're public piracy acts of North American software is absolutely shocking!  They kill off their own software industry and just leech the corporates.

Software is a creative field as well as practical.  The industry itself along with the rest of computing technology has *atleast* another 100 years or more to mature and evolve.  Business software is not all that there is people.

Larry Ellison is just bitter because his team of brainy developers don't have any imagination and can't think past relational databases.

If you think the software industry is 'dead', then get out of it, and stop wasting other people's time who are leading the way.

Monday, May 5, 2003

Products are dead, services* are alive.

* - not to be confused with overhyped web services, but intended to mean all manner of one-off service work (i.e., custom development, niche software, plain old support and maintence of existing or new systems, etc.)

Monday, May 5, 2003

That's far closer - although even that isn't entirely true, there are still new commodity tools appearing and being successful (on their own small scale, not an epic one).

Monday, May 5, 2003

I'm super-bullish on software but less so on the desktop. more so on the server and in devices, portable and not.

Monday, May 5, 2003


I beg to dffer; you said:

>Products are dead, services* .....

Products are the most alive thing in niche markets. Thats where they need another mousetrap.

Monday, May 5, 2003


>Larry Ellison is just bitter because his team of brainy
>developers don't have any imagination and can't think
>past relational databases.

Hahahah...this is the most stupid thing i heard. If you thought up relational databases you made your billion. And then you made your mark in the industry.

And then again, relational databases solves the most common bread-and-butter problems, like general ledgers, accounts payable, accounts revievable and all that crap.

Monday, May 5, 2003

> Prediction:  In the next 5 years business software will be 99% commoditized.

In other words software development will turn into component assembly and we'll all be out of a job. That prediction has been around since the OO hype in the 80's. It doesn't seem any closer to reality now  then it was then.

Andrew Reid
Monday, May 5, 2003

"If you thought up relational databases you made your billion."


This is not so - IBM invented the relational database, but I think we can all agree that they did not make nearly the money they should have for being such pioneers. Sure, DB2 is a popular product, but... IBM never saw a dime for all of the resources they poured into database research. 

IBM has made that mistake a couple of times - researching and innovating without having a business goal in mind. They've learned their lesson, but I'm sure there are others who haven't...

Dan J
Monday, May 5, 2003

Yeah, yeah, blame the Chinese and Indians. In fact, why don't you just invade?

Tuesday, May 6, 2003

"Larry Ellison is just bitter because his team of brainy developers don't have any imagination and can't think past relational databases."

Slightly on a tangent here but in my experience a Database Mindset seems to be a real creativity killer. Soon they get into the "Everything is a database" rethoric, and the only thing left is to come up with the Universal Unified Schema.
For DB people the world is a collection of static data.
Maybe it is just a case of it not rubbing very well with my interests in all things dynamical that generates the friction.

Just me (Sir to you)
Tuesday, May 6, 2003

Larry is just trying to undermine small firms, being competitors to his own.

Tuesday, May 6, 2003

What is the Matrix?

Tuesday, May 6, 2003

When something is called a commodity, that means it's an undifferentiated good or service.  Think in terms of bread and butter.

Or accounting software, e-commerce software, bug tracking software. 

I'm saying 99% of the business space software will be commoditized.

Hope this helps.

Tuesday, May 6, 2003

And when it does, that space will comprise about 5 percent of the software development space.

So ninety nine percent of 5 percent is nothing much.

Tuesday, May 6, 2003

Business space software only comprising 5% of the total space?

How do you figure?

Tuesday, May 6, 2003

No software is not dead as an industry. It's only restructuring same way as the other manufacturing industries: headquarters & conception in western countries, manufacturing anywhere where labour is cheap.


Wednesday, May 7, 2003

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