Variation Across Sectoral Systems
Edited by Franco Malerba and Richard R. Nelson
Jorge Niosi, Suma Athreye and Ted Tschang 3.1 OVERVIEW OF THE SECTOR (1950–2007) The computer software and service industry (CSS) is now a global sector with multiple product and service niches. In the United States it is comparable to the automobile industry in terms of employment, sales, value added, or market capitalization. Its core is composed of three related activities: software publishing, computer systems design and services, and data processing services.1 Other related activities are telephone call centres, which may or may not be related to software.2 Companies active in these sectors often include several classes and move from one class to another within their main activity. Of course, publishing packaged software for large markets and designing software for specific clients are much more demanding than entering data or responding to technical telephone calls from clients. 3.1.1 Evolution of the Sector The CCS industry has moved through different stages. The industry was born in the United States, the cradle of the computer, and the CSS sector progressively detached itself from the computer manufacturing industry. The main stages were as follows (Hoch et al., 2000). The first era (1950–59) was the period of the birth of independent programming services: IBM had a virtual monopoly on the sale of mainframes computers, and usually sold programs embedded in their machines. However, large corporations and government departments using mainframes required programs that IBM did not provide. Professional service companies appeared at this time; most of them were based in the US. A...
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