|Volume 1: No. 18|
Businesses have nearly all the PCs they need. The personal computer market is still healthy, but channels are shifting to superstores selling name-brand and generic hardware. The software market will change if prices drop to match hardware costs. Most industry pundits are excited about multimedia -- and are again predicting the death of paper -- but I think that entertainment, user-friendly home applications, and access to electronic bboards will drive future software sales. Anything complicated is going to be a tough sell.
James J. Mitchell [SJ Mercury, 7/21] notes that software is becoming more important as the hardware market saturates. Low- cost computing is coming, and companies are working to establish their positions. Companies like Apple, Sun, HP, Octel, and LSI Logic are heavily into software development, often with more programmers than engineers. Venture capitalists are drawn by the annual growth rates of major software companies: Symantec's 1985- 90 sales rose 124% per year (!), Oracle 111%, Adobe 106%, Cadence 81%, Borland 58%, Software Publisher 30%.
"Borland people used to work 12 hours a day, six days a week. ... Now it's going to be 15 hours a day and seven days a week." -- Philippe Kahn, president of Borland International (Scotts Valley, CA).
"Almost anybody can start a software company. It's not capital intensive. There's no other business that Philippe could have been successful in." -- Gordon Eubanks, CEO of Symantec. [James J. Mitchell, SJ Mercury, 7/21.]