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Discussion Board

top ten software firms

what is the list of the top ten software companies in the world?

rahul sharma
Saturday, March 27, 2004

The answer is going to depend on what you mean by "software firm"and what your criteria for judging these firms is.

One Programmer's Opinion
Saturday, March 27, 2004

Rank     Company     Annual Revenues
#1     Microsoft Corp.     $23,845,000,000
#2     Adobe     $1,266,378,000
#3     Novell     $1,103,592,000
#4     Intuit     $1,076,000,000
#5     Autodesk     $926,324,000
#6     Symantec     $790,153,000
#7     Network Associates     $745,692,000
#8     Citrix     $479,446,000
#9     Macromedia     $295,997,000
#10     Great Plains     $250,231,000


Matthew Lock
Saturday, March 27, 2004

Software magazine publishes an annual list of the top 500 software companies.  The top 10 for 2002 and 2003 are below.

1 - They include both software and consulting revenues in their rankings (hence IBM #1).
2 - The revenues below are only the portion that pertains to software.  For example, IBM's total revenues were $81.1M, so the $49.4M figure below is for software / services only.

$49.4M - IBM
$28.4M - Microsoft
$21.5M - EDS
$12.8M - Lockheed Martin
$11.6M - Accenture
$11.4M - Computer Sciences Corp.
$10.2M - Hewlett-Packard
$ 9.7M - Oracle
$ 8.2M - Hitachi, Ltd.
$ 7.7M - SAP

$47.9M - IBM
$24.7M - Microsoft
$21.5M - EDS
$13.3M - Accenture
$10.9M - Oracle
$10.5M - Computer Sciences Corp.
$ 7.7M - Compaq
$ 7.5M - PricewaterhouseCoopers
$ 7.5M - Cap Gemini Ernst & Young
$ 6.5M - NTT DATA Corp.


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Saturday, March 27, 2004

Surely there are some zeroes missing in that chart?

I assume Microsoft sold more than $30M worth of software last year.

Steve Jones (UK)
Saturday, March 27, 2004

Judging from the $23.8B figure cited for MS above, I'm guessing we should read those M's as B's.

Devil's Advocate
Saturday, March 27, 2004

Should be Billions not millions

Stephen Jones
Saturday, March 27, 2004

Why does it matter which software companies are the top ten or twenty?  Are you planning to buy one?

Saturday, March 27, 2004

---" Are you planning to buy one? "---

No, he's planning to sue one!

Stephen Jones
Saturday, March 27, 2004

Yeah, those should be B's instead of M's.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

My list is "PC software companies" and comes from the Soft*Letter 100.

Joel Spolsky
Fog Creek Software
Saturday, March 27, 2004

Amazing that only the top four pure software companies have revenue > $1 billion.

Is SoftLetter worth the $395 / year subscription for a small software company?

Michael Bean
Saturday, March 27, 2004

Michael -- Were you meaning to imply that they got ripped off for buying inaccurate data?  Maybe they did.

Why is Oracle not on the list?  They had revenues last year of over $9 billion.

Computer Associates had revenues last year of over $3 billion.

Electronic Arts and Peoplesoft both had annual revenue last year of over $2 billion.

Actually, in Fortune's annual rankings that recently came out, Adobe was ranked 12th in terms of annual revenue. 

So something is wrong with the list the original poster gave.  It doesn't seem to have been including all software firms in the ranking.  And seeing as how it was supposed to be listing the top 10 software firms in terms of annual revenue, it's basically worthless.

Herbert Sitz
Saturday, March 27, 2004

Looking more closely it looks like Joel was quoting the original list form "In Search of Stupidity"?  Something seems to be confused there; don't see how their list could be so far off.  Hmmm.

Herbert Sitz
Saturday, March 27, 2004

Herbert-- I'm just interested in knowing if people like the SoftLetter. It's fairly expensive for a magazine, but about average price for a trade newsletter. However, in my experience, most (but not all) trade newsletters are not worth the money. I'm just curious to get others' take on the quality.

Regarding the discrepancy of the lists, it seems to me that the first list contains only pure-play software companies, where the other list contains companies that make a significant portion of their revenue from non-software sources like consulting and hardware.

The most useful list would be one that compares the software divisions only. But this is extremely difficult to do which is probably why it wasn't attempted in either case.

Michael Bean
Saturday, March 27, 2004

All this information information is publicly available, so I wouldn't pay any money for a newsletter that reports it.  Hopefully the newsletter has other stuff worth something.

In any case, it makes little sense to throw the numbers or lists around without saying what's included and what's excluded.

I don't see how the pure software/ consulting revenues could be the dividing line. Electronic Arts, so far as I know, sells only shinkwrap retail games.  I can't imagine they do any consulting.  Yet they don't appear at all on the first list when they had revenues greater than "#2" Adobe.

And Oracle, Peoplesoft, Computer Associates may have significant revenue from consulting, but it's all software based consulting, isn't it?  And they have huge revenue from the sales of software;  I don't think they sell hardware at all.  And in the case of Oracle, I'd be willing to bet that just the sales of the "pure software" Oracle licenses would place them in #2 position all by itself.  Seems ludicrous to me to leave these companies off of a software company list, especially when there isn't any explanation of exactly what the criteria are or why the criteria were chosen.

I realize this is just a silly message board, but sheesh.

Herbert Sitz
Saturday, March 27, 2004

Okay, okay, it's all fine.  Sorry for the rant.

Herbert Sitz
Saturday, March 27, 2004

Does anyone who has read or reviewed SoftLetter have anything to say about the quality of the newsletter?

Michael Bean
Sunday, March 28, 2004

Why revenue?

What are the top ten by profitabaility. Amount AND percent.

Top ten by cash in the bank?

Top ten by revenue/profit per employee.

Top ten by product quality?

Top ten by qulaity of employer?

Top ten by innovation?

too late to go on....

fool for python
Monday, March 29, 2004

We can make lists ad nauseum, but in order to judge the appropriateness of a list we must know the conclusions you are planning to draw from it.
Joel's example of making a list of taking a list of "pure play PC software companies" only to then conclude that MS is outside any competition is to me just ludicrous to put it mildly.

We have been over this before ( )and FWIW Joel doesn't agree.

Just me (Sir to you)
Monday, March 29, 2004

Profitability is a better criteria than service revenue. High service revenues might indicate a mediocre product needing lots of integration & support.

For me profitability/growth by developer-head would be the best criteria because that would indicate efficient, intelligent, well organised software development.

Monday, March 29, 2004

Herbert: Electronic Arts makes the majority of their money off of console games, not PC software.  While it is certainly still a software company, it would probably not be high on the list of earners for PC software

Monday, March 29, 2004

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