Want to invest in the top software companies listed in the US? Below is a list of the top publicly traded companies based in USA, with market capitalization as the primary criterion. Other details and figures like price-earnings ratio (P/E), earnings per share (EPS), dividend yield, institutional ownership percentage, etc. are also included, as available. Since our focus remains on listed companies that are primarily software providers (products and services), companies like Apple, Inc. (AAPL) that are classified under "electronics" are not considered for this list.

All stated figures are as of December 2014 and can change based on price changes and market developments.

  1. Microsoft Corp. (MSFT): The Redmond, Washington-based company needs no introduction. It retains the top spot among software companies. Its most popular products are Windows, Office, Server, and related software applications. As of December 2014, Microsoft has a market cap of $395.87B, a P/E ratio of 18.65, EPS of 2.55, and dividend yield of 2.61.
  2. Google, Inc. (GOOG): The NASDAQ-listed Internet giant Google is the world leader in search technology, along with advertising, applications, operating systems, enterprise, and a few hardware products. Google’s market cap stands at $366.19B, EPS at 19.73, and P/E ratio at 27.2. Institutional ownership is 83%.
  3. Oracle Corp. (ORCL): Oracle is a global leader in database solutions and an established provider of enterprise software, middleware, services, and products, along with computer hardware. It has primarily grown based on global acquisitions. Its market cap is reported to be $88.4B, its P/E ratio is 17.26, EPS is 2.39, and institutional ownership is 60%.
  4. International Business Machines Corp. (IBM): NYSE-listed IBM has five divisions: Global Technology Services, Global Business Services, Software, Systems and Technology, and Global Financing. One of the oldest IT companies of the world, IBM continues to be among the top software companies in the US. IBM has a market cap of $163.62B, a P/E ratio of 10.19, a dividend yield of 2.71, and 60% institutional ownership.
  5. Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ): NYSE-listed HP is a global provider of software, solutions, services, technologies, and products to individual consumers as well as large enterprises. It has market cap of $72B, a P/E ratio of 14.7, EPS of 2.62, and institutional ownership of 80%.
  6. EMC Corp (EMC): NYSE-listed EMC is primarily into development, delivery, and support of software and services such as information infrastructure, virtual infrastructure, and cloud-based offerings. Its most remarkable acquisition was of VMware, Inc. (VMW), which continues to remain separately listed. It has a market cap of $61.49B, a P/E ratio of 23.77, EPS of 1.55, and institutional ownership of 83%.
  7. Adobe Systems, Inc. (ADBE): NASDAQ-listed Adobe, primarily known for its Acrobat Reader products, has a diversified portfolio of offerings. It has wide range of software products and services for content management, compatible across a range of systems, products, media, and devices. With a market cap of $36.25B, a high P/E ratio of 146.41, EPS of 0.48, and institutional ownership of 93%, Adobe ranks among the top US software companies.
  8. Salesforce.com, Inc. (CRM):  NYSE-listed Salesforce operates in enterprise cloud computing and social enterprise software, services, and solutions. Its entire suite of services is available through browsers, apps, and mobile devices. It has a market cap of $36.04B and high institutional ownership of 95%.
  9. VMware, Inc. (VMW): Based in Palo Alto, VMware provides virtualization, cloud, and related software and services. It was acquired by EMC Corp. in 2004 and listed on the NYSE in 2007. With a market cap of $35.04B and a P/E ratio of 38.65, VMW, although a subsidiary of EMC, remains a top US software company in terms of market cap.
  10. Intuit Corp. (INTU): Intuit is a software and solution provider for the business and financial sectors. Its consumer base includes small businesses, finance professionals, institutions, and individuals. It has market cap of $26.89B, a P/E ratio of 32.7, EPS of 2.87, a dividend yield of 1.07, and institutional ownership at 89%.

Other than the above, NASDAQ-listed Symantec Corp (SYMC) with a market cap of $18.26B, Fiserv Inc. (FISVwith a market cap of $17.46B, CA Technologies, Inc. (CA) with a market cap of $13.96B, and NetApp, Inc. (NTAPwith a market cap of $13.48B are other top software companies listed in the US.

The Bottom Line:

Investors looking to invest in large cap US-based software companies can explore the potential of these top ten firms. However, investors should remember to be cautious and selective about the business domain served by the software companies (financial, medical, internet, security, graphics, hardware, etc.), as performance of the underlying business sector is a deciding factor in the returns of the software firms serving those sectors.