Global CIO: Apple, IBM, Or Microsoft: Who Has #1 Most-Valuable Software Product?

The top software-product franchise gets a value of $110 billion, and both Oracle and Microsoft have two entries in the Top 6. But who's #1?
First, on the absolutely essential need for Apple to see itself as and behave as a software company, not a hardware company:

"You're looking at it wrong. You're looking at it as a hardware person in a fragmented world. You're looking it as a hardware manufacturer that doesn't really know much about software, who doesn't think about an integrated product, but assumes the software will somehow take care of itself. . . . And you assume that the software will somehow just come alive on this product that you're dreaming of, but it won't."

And then this perspective on why he expects Apple will pull away from RIM and its Blackberry: " 'We've now passed RIM, and I don't seem them catching up with us in the foreseeable future,' Jobs said during the analysts call. 'They must move beyond their areas of strength and comfort and enter the unfamiliar territory of trying to become a software-platform company.

" 'I think it's going to be a real challenge for them to create a competitive platform and also convince developers to create apps for yet a third software platform—and that's after iOS and Android,' Jobs said.

" 'With 300,000 apps in Apple's App Store, RIM has a high mountain ahead of themselves to climb.' "

I admire Trefis for their imaginative leap in trying to assess and establish the world's most-valuable software franchises, but I think they need to look at their work and rethink it for quite a while. If they totally overlooked the significance Apple's iOS in their showcase example of their product-contribution model, what else have they missed?

Nevertheless, their list is a nice conversation-starter. If Trefis is willing to tear it apart and start over again and infuse much more rigor and comprehensive thinking into the model, it could prove to be a very valuable tool for CIOs. But until then, it's mostly just a fairly interesting hypothetical scenario.


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GlobalCIO Bob Evans is senior VP and director of InformationWeek's Global CIO unit.

To find out more about Bob Evans, please visit his page.

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