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The term “software” first appeared in print in the 1960s has since become ingrained in our society as a staple product across a variety of industries. The industry rapidly expanded in the ’70s and has since become one of the biggest industries in the world.
Today, software is found on almost anything that uses electricity, either embedded into a gadget or installed via a program on a mobile device or computer.
The software industry is divided into four main categories including system services, programming services, open-source, and software as a service (SaaS). The programming services sector has traditionally been the largest sector including pioneers like Microsoft Corporation, Automatic Data Processing (ADP), Oracle Corporation, and SDC Technologies.
Today’s software companies have the ability to change the world. We interact with intelligent software so often, we probably don’t even realize it. But some of the basic software you see on a daily basis are Microsoft Word, Avira, Adobe Photoshop, Windows Media Player, and more.
Our lives in business are easier with software applications as we often use software applications like managing databases, accounts, billing, payroll, and more. We use software in healthcare, banking, general communication, and more.
Valued at over $533 billion, the software industry is projected to reach a market value of $773 billion by 2025. It’s no surprise at how much software has exploded over the past years, as it plays such a significant role in our everyday lives, both for professional business and personal use. Here are the biggest software companies in the world, ranked by revenue:
AdobeJob type you wantFull TimePart TimeInternshipTemporary
Norton LifeLock, Inc.
SS&C Technologies Holdings Inc.
Red Hat Inc.
Citrix Systems, Inc.
CDK Global, Inc.
Top 15 Largest Software Companies
Let’s look at these top software players a little more deeply. Check out our list of the top 15 largest software companies, based on revenue.
Annual Revenue (2020): ($M) $143,015
Founded by Bill Gates in 1975, Microsoft Corporation is the leading developer of software systems and applications for the PC. Based out of Redmond, Washington, this software company is the biggest giant in the industry.
They design and produce software, sell licenses, and support their products. Most PCs and laptops will already be wired with Microsoft applications like Windows 10, 9, or XP, as well as Microsoft Office.
Due to work moving primarily online, the demand for Microsoft Azure cloud and Office 365 Workplace software applications has gotten greater.
Annual Revenue (2020): ($M) $39,506
Based out of Redwood, California, Oracle is one of the world’s largest providers of database software. They also boast second place for the largest provider of business applications.
Their business revolves around the production and distribution of an integrated line of software products used for data management, computer-aided software design and development, application design and development, and data integration.
They also have a suite of software products used for financial, human resources, and manufacturing.
Annual Revenue (2020): ($M) $19,380
Based in San Francisco, California, Salesforce is the largest cloud-based provider of business software focused on customer relationship management (CRM). Salesforce focuses on and has pioneered cloud, web, social, Internet of Things (IoT), and AI technology.
They also provide software such as e-commerce, analytics, as well as social media tools, all based on the cloud. They host an annual event in San Francisco, attracting exhibiting clients from all kinds of industries including financial, telecom, healthcare, engineering, entertainment, and government.
Annual Revenue (2020): ($M) $12,436
Based in San Jose, California, Adobe, Inc. was founded in 1982. The company is most popular for its software revolving around multimedia production including Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, Lightroom, and many more.
Adobe also offers a variety of other tools including marketing/advertising software, and web conferencing and document platforms. Adobe has been through a number of acquisitions including Allegorithmic and Marketo, making it a competitive software giant.
Annual Revenue (2020): ($M) $6,784
Operating out of Mountainview, California, Intuit is number five on our largest software companies list. This organization offers financial reporting and compliance products and services to its clients.
They cater to individuals, small businesses, self-employed, and accounting professionals globally. They are Silicon Valley’s leading developer for software aimed at small businesses with software like QuickBooks and TurboTax.
Norton LifeLock, Inc.
Annual Revenue (2020): ($M) $4,731
Norton LifeLock, Inc. is the global leader in security software programs that can protect your computers from hackers and other viruses that attack computers. Norton’s programs enable clients to secure computers, online privacy, identify, as well as home networks.
Their software can be found on most PCs both for personal and business use. Headquartered in Tempe, Arizona, Norton LifeLock employs almost 12,000 individuals.
Annual Revenue (2020): ($M) $4,632.9
Established in 1986 and operating out of Windsor, Connecticut, SS&C Technology, Inc. is one of the leading software companies in the world focusing on financial software solutions.
The organization offers clients financial management software, advisory, managed, and technical services, as well as technology and outsourcing services. This global company has 150 offices across 25 different countries across the globe.
Annual Revenue (2020): ($M) $4,163
Workday is based in the heart of Silicon Valley in Pleasanton, California. Ranking as number 8 on this list, this organization offers corporate cloud services across the globe.
This includes financial services, human resource management, as well as analytical applications for businesses, educational institutions, and government agencies.
Workday also boasts an application offering an analysis based on content and daily business activities to enable informed decision-making for users.
Annual Revenue (2020): ($M) $3,460.4
ServiceNow offers a business cloud computing solution that helps clients identify, build, manage, and automate services for global businesses across industries like financial services, consumer products, IT, healthcare, government, education, and more.
The core of their product focuses on service management for things like customer support, security operations, and human resources. The company is truly global with data centers located across all continents except Antarctica.
Annual Revenue (2020): ($M) $3,362.1
Red Hat, Inc. or RHT is the world’s leading provider of business open source applications, more commonly known as Linux cloud products. Their products operate on open-source code so that programmers have the ability to make adaptations and improvements when they use the software for their own use.
Red Hat is subscription-based and bases its success on its open-source business models. Red Hat operates in a variety of countries across the Americas, EMEA, and the Asia Pacific. In 2019, IBM purchased Red Hat for $34 billion.
Annual Revenue (2020): ($M) $3,360.7
Based out of Mountain View, California, Synopsys is an electronic design automation company focused on silicon design and verification, silicon intellectual property, and software security and quality.
Their technology has been used in a number of impressive initiatives including artificial intelligence projects, self-driving vehicles, and a number of smart devices.
Annual Revenue (2020): ($M) $3,651
Based out of San Rafael, California, Autodesk, Inc, or ADSK, is a multinational software design and services organization. This company produces AutoCAD which is the world’s most popular design, detailing, and visualization software for architects, engineers, constructors, product designers, and entertainers.
Annual Revenue (2020): ($M) $3,171.2
Headquartered in New York City, Infor is a private business offering enterprise applications and services globally. Their focus remains on the licensing, servicing, and advisory segments. Their software offerings are for CRM, ERP, HRM, financial management, performance management, as well as business management.
Annual Revenue (2020): ($M) $3,010.6
Citrix or CTXS is one of the world’s leading software providers in the world. They offer software that helps manage any application over any connection on any device, allowing for easy management and IT assistance in times of need.
It markets and licenses products for its clients across the internet, device integrators, and service providers.
Annual Revenue (2020): ($M) $2,332.9
Last on our list, CDK Global is a developer of integrated information technology (IT) and digital marketing that caters to the automotive retail industry.
The organization’s software allows users to manage workflow processes from start to finish through marketing strategies, distribution, financing, insurance, procurement, repair, and maintenance.
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