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Essential Guide to Computing: The Story of Information Technology, The by E. Garrison Walters

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The Software Industry

There are really four categories of software company: 1) Microsoft; 2) other big companies; 3) specialized firms; and 4) independent developers.

Microsoft

A recent Doonesbury column featured a sequence in which Mike Doonesbury and his ex-wife are talking. The ex-wife brags about her six-figure income; Mike responds that his software business is losing more than that each month. Later, the peeved ex-wife remarks to her boyfriend that she had no idea Mike was doing so well. As humorous as this is, in the real world, typical software startups have only a year or so to begin to make money; after that, venture capitalists pull the plug. The high costs of development and marketing make initial failure so expensive that staying ...

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