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About computer and software!

Computer software is so called to distinguish it from computer hardware, which encompasses the physical interconnections and devices required to store and execute (or run) the software. In computers, software is loaded into RAM and executed in the central processing unit. At the lowest level, software consists of a machine language specific to an individual processor. A machine language consists of groups of binary values signifying processor instructions which change the state of the computer from its preceding state. Software is an ordered sequence of instructions for changing the state of the computer hardware in a particular sequence. It is usually written in high-level programming languages that are easier and more efficient for humans to use (closer to natural language) than machine language. High-level languages are compiled or interpreted into machine language object code. Software may also be written in an assembly language, essentially, a mnemonic representation of a machine language using a natural language alphabet. Assembly language must be assembled into object code via an assembler.

The term "software" was first used in this sense by John W. Tukey in 1958. In computer science and software engineering, computer software is all computer programs. The theory that is the basis for most modern software was first proposed by Alan Turing in his 1935 essay Computable numbers with an application to the Entscheidungsproblem.


Practical computer systems divide software systems into three major classes: system software, programming software and application software, although the distinction is arbitrary, and often blurred.



Users often see things differently than programmers. People who use modern general purpose computers (as opposed to embedded systems, analog computers, supercomputers, etc.) usually see three layers of software performing a variety of tasks: platform, application, and user software.

Platform software
Platform includes the firmware, device drivers, an operating system, and typically a graphical user interface which, in total, allow a user to interact with the computer and its peripherals (associated equipment). Platform software often comes bundled with the computer. On a PC you will usually have the ability to change the platform software.
Application software
Application software or Applications are what most people think of when they think of software. Typical examples include office suites and video games. Application software is often purchased separately from computer hardware. Sometimes applications are bundled with the computer, but that does not change the fact that they run as independent applications. Applications are almost always independent programs from the operating system, though they are often tailored for specific platforms. Most users think of compilers, databases, and other "system software" as applications.
User-written software
User software tailors systems to meet the users specific needs. User software include spreadsheet templates, word processor macros, scientific simulations, and scripts for graphics and animations. Even email filters are a kind of user software. Users create this software themselves and often overlook how important it is. Depending on how competently the user-written software has been integrated into purchased application packages, many users may not be aware of the distinction between the purchased packages, and what has been added by fellow co-workers.


Forbes 2000

This yearly list offers 2000 companies active in all kinds of industries. By selecting software & services a sublist can be made, which was 32 companies long in 2007. Forbes offers figures such as sales, profits, assets and market capitalization. Only public companies are listed. The ranking seems to be based upon a multiplication of sales*profits*assets*market capitalization. An extract of the Forbes list is provided below. The Forbes Global 2000 includes the following list of the world's largest software companies.

Relative
rank
  
Global
rank
  
Name   Country   Sales
($)
  
Profits
($)
  
Assets
($)
  
Market Value
($)
  
1 54 Microsoft Flag of the United States United States &0000000000000041.36000041.36 &0000000000000013.06000013.06 &0000000000000067.26000067.26 &0000000000000279.020000279.02
2 240 Oracle Flag of the United States United States &0000000000000012.89000012.89 &0000000000000002.8800002.88 &0000000000000019.35000019.35 &0000000000000064.01000064.01
3 248 First Data Flag of the United States United States &0000000000000010.49000010.49 &0000000000000001.5900001.59 &0000000000000034.25000034.25 &0000000000000034.43000034.43
4 381 SAP Flag of Germany Germany &0000000000000010.06000010.06 &0000000000000001.7700001.77 &0000000000000010.43000010.43 &0000000000000063.1.0E+563.10
5 418 Accenture Flag of Bermuda Bermuda &0000000000000017.57000017.57 &0000000000000000.9600000.96 &0000000000000008.1200008.12 &0000000000000027.77000027.77
6 439 Google Flag of the United States United States &0000000000000006.1400006.14 &0000000000000001.4700001.47 &0000000000000010.27000010.27 &0000000000000107.170000107.17
7 473 Yahoo! Flag of the United States United States &0000000000000005.2600005.26 &0000000000000001.9.0E+51.90 &0000000000000010.87000010.87 &0000000000000045.48000045.48
8 499 Computer Sciences Corporation Flag of the United States United States &0000000000000014.61000014.61 &0000000000000000.8500000.85 &0000000000000012.62000012.62 &0000000000000010.12000010.12
9 715 Electronic Data Systems Flag of the United States United States &0000000000000019.76000019.76 &0000000000000000.1500000.15 &0000000000000017.09000017.09 &0000000000000013.84000013.84
10 776 SoftBank Flag of Japan Japan &0000000000000007.8100007.81 !-0.56 &0000000000000015.53000015.53 &0000000000000032.78000032.78
11 948 Symantec Flag of the United States United States &0000000000000003.6200003.62 &0000000000000000.1600000.16 &0000000000000017.68000017.68 &0000000000000017.6.0E+517.60
12 959 CA Flag of the United States United States &0000000000000003.7600003.76 &0000000000000000.2200000.22 &0000000000000010.06000010.06 &0000000000000015.73000015.73
13 993 Fiserv Flag of the United States United States &0000000000000004.0600004.06 &0000000000000000.5200000.52 &0000000000000006.0400006.04 &0000000000000007.7.0E+57.70
14 1010 Affiliated Computer Services Flag of the United States United States &0000000000000004.9400004.94 &0000000000000000.4200000.42 &0000000000000005.3100005.31 &0000000000000007.8600007.86
15 1077 Adobe Systems Flag of the United States United States &0000000000000001.9700001.97 &0000000000000000.6.0E+50.60 &0000000000000002.4400002.44 &0000000000000023.12000023.12
16 1086 Capgemini Group Flag of France France &0000000000000008.2200008.22 &0000000000000000.1700000.17 &0000000000000007.1500007.15 &0000000000000006.5.0E+56.50
17 1215 ASML Holding Flag of the Netherlands Netherlands &0000000000000002.9900002.99 &0000000000000000.3700000.37 &0000000000000004.2.0E+54.20 &0000000000000010.06000010.06
18 1237 Electronic Arts Flag of the United States United States &0000000000000002.8600002.86 &0000000000000000.2600000.26 &0000000000000004.3300004.33 &0000000000000015.75000015.75
19 1343 Advantest Flag of Japan Japan &0000000000000002.2300002.23 &0000000000000000.3600000.36 &0000000000000002.6900002.69 &0000000000000010.7.0E+510.70
20 1366 Intuit Flag of the United States United States &0000000000000002.1800002.18 &0000000000000000.4200000.42 &0000000000000002.6900002.69 &0000000000000008.5400008.54
21 1462 Autodesk Flag of the United States United States &0000000000000001.4600001.46 &0000000000000000.3100000.31 &0000000000000001.3600001.36 &0000000000000008.6400008.64
22 1504 VeriSign Flag of the United States United States &0000000000000001.6100001.61 &0000000000000000.4100000.41 &0000000000000003.1700003.17 &0000000000000005.8300005.83
23 1634 Check Point Software Flag of Israel Israel &0000000000000000.5800000.58 &0000000000000000.3200000.32 &0000000000000002.0900002.09 &0000000000000005.2800005.28
24 1644 DST Systems Flag of the United States United States &0000000000000002.5200002.52 &0000000000000000.4200000.42 &0000000000000002.9300002.93 &0000000000000004.0600004.06
25 1668 The Sage Group Flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom &0000000000000001.3700001.37 &0000000000000000.2500000.25 &0000000000000002.6100002.61 &0000000000000006.2400006.24
26 1721 Dassault Systèmes Flag of France France &0000000000000001.1200001.12 &0000000000000000.2200000.22 &0000000000000001.6700001.67 &0000000000000006.3500006.35
27 1747 CSK Flag of Japan Japan &0000000000000002.9900002.99 &0000000000000000.3100000.31 &0000000000000004.1600004.16 &0000000000000003.3900003.39
28 1859 Akamai Technologies Flag of the United States United States &0000000000000000.2800000.28 &0000000000000000.3300000.33 &0000000000000000.8900000.89 &0000000000000003.7.0E+53.70

Note: The above list does not include companies like IBM whose software/services part is bigger than Microsoft. In the Forbes2000 report IBM and HP were listed as Technology Hardware companies. Also, some software companies listed in the Forbes report under 'Business Services' should also be in the above table. Examples: TCS (Rev 4 bil) Infosys (Revenue 2.1 bil), Wipro (Rev 2.4 bil).
See http://www.forbes.com/lists/2007/18/biz_07forbes2000_The-Global-2000_Rank_11.html for TCV whose rank is 1047.


The Software 500 by Software Magazine

A yearly list that is available after free subscription. The list offers 500 companies. Services revenues are included in the software revenues. Software Magazine sends out a yearly request for data: companies fill in their own data online. As Software Magazine is primarily read in the US, the list also has a slight focus on the US, although it is becoming more international every year. The companies are ranked according to software & services sales revenues. Both public and private companies are included. Software Magazine’s Top 10 ranking is as follows (see their website for more info):

  1. IBM
  2. Microsoft
  3. Electronic Data Systems
  4. HP
  5. Accenture
  6. Computer Sciences Corporation
  7. Oracle Corporation
  8. SAP
  9. Cap Gemini
  10. Hitach

The Software Top 100 by the Top 100 Research Foundation

A yearly list that is freely available online. As the name indicates, the list offers 100 companies, which are ranked according to software sales revenues. Services revenues are not included, only software license and maintenance revenues. The list is primarily based upon a yearly analysis of a few hundred relevant annual reports by the foundation’s researchers. Both public and private companies are included. In 2007, the Top 10 looks as follows (see their website for more info):

  1. Microsoft
  2. IBM
  3. Oracle Corporation
  4. SAP
  5. HP
  6. Symantec
  7. Computer Associates
  8. Electronic Arts
  9. Adobe
  10. Nintendo

The largest Global Technology Companies

#   Organisation 2007 Turnover
(USD million)
2006 Turnover
(USD million)
Headquarters Foundation Executive Head
1 Hewlett-Packard (HP) $104,300m $94,000m Palo Alto, California, USA 1939 Mark V. Hurd, Chairman, CEO and President
2 International Business Machines (IBM) $98,800m $91,424m Armonk, New York, USA 1889 Samuel J. Palmisano, Chairman & CEO
3 Samsung Electronics $89,500m $74,872.6m Suwon, South Korea 1969 Jong-Yong Yun, CEO
4 Hitachi, Ltd. $94,998m $60,688.5m Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan 1910 Kazuo Furukawa, President
5 Dell Inc. $57,400m $55,908m Round Rock, Texas, USA November 4, 1984 Michael Dell, Founder and CEO
6 Sony Corporation $76,201m $54,975m Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan May 7, 1946 Sir Howard Stringer, Chairman and CEO
7 Microsoft Corporation $51,120m $44,282m Redmond, Washington, USA April 4, 1975 Bill Gates, Co-founder and Executive Chairman; Steve Ballmer, CEO
8 Nokia Corporation $78,619m $42,233m Espoo, Finland 1865 Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, President & CEO;

Jorma Ollila, Chairman

9 NEC Corporation $47,589m $39,993m Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan 1899 Hajime Sasaki, Chairman of the Board; Kaoru Yano, President
10 Canon Inc. $40,745m $35,730.4m Ota-ku, Tokyo August 10, 1937 Fujio Mitarai, Chairman & CEO
11 Intel Corporation $38,300m $35,382m Santa Clara, California, USA 1968 Paul S. Otellini, CEO; Craig Barrett, Chairman
12 Cisco Systems $34,922m $28,484m San Jose, California, USA 1984 John T. Chambers, Chairman and CEO
13 Motorola $42,879m $28,383m Schaumburg, Illinois, USA 1928 Edward Zander, Chairman; Greg Brown, President and CEO
14 Electronic Data Systems (EDS) $22,134m $21,268m Plano, Texas, USA June 27, 1962 Ronald A. Rittenmeyer, Chairman, President & CEO
15 Apple Inc. $24,010m $19,315m Cupertino, California, USA April 1, 1976 Steve Jobs, CEO & Co-founder


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