Software has evolved through the years from programs placed on discs to now nearly immediate access through online activation. In the past, traditional software companies produced software programs sold to consumers through a disc that required purchase time and installation. In the modern day, thanks to the internet and cloud technology, customers can now gain immediate access to a software installation upon purchase.

Software companies today operate on many different business models and provide a wide array of products and services. Revenue generated from these services includes software license sales, maintenance services, subscription fees, support services, and more.

Across the technology industry, innovative developments are helping services from software companies to become faster and more productive for the customer than ever. Through the internet and cloud technology software companies are offering a broader array of options through the concept software-as-a-service (SaaS). SaaS offerings and revenue are at the core of nearly every top software company in the world. Through cloud technology, customers can more easily pay a regular subscription fee to immediately access software through the internet on the provider’s server. Software companies are also some of the world’s top developers of enterprise solutions commonly known as infrastructure as a service (IaaS) with SaaS powering many IaaS solutions.

Historically, technology has been one of the most innovative and high growth sectors in a country’s economy. This article looks at the top 10 software companies across the globe along with some of their brightest company highlights. This top 10 list comes from the Forbes Global 2000 which annually identifies the largest publicly traded companies in the world.

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What Are the World's Top Ten Software Companies?

Who Are the World's Top Ten Software Companies?

  1. Microsoft (MSFT): U.S.-based with headquarters in Redmond, Washington. Microsoft is the world leader in software. Sales are more than twice its next closest competitor at $103.3 billion. It specializes in desktop processing services for companies and individuals through its familiar Microsoft Office Suite. It is also leading in cloud enterprise technology through Azure which is a top infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offering.
  2. Oracle (ORCL): U.S.-based with headquarters in Redwood Shores, California. Oracle’s annual software sales are $39.5 billion. The company has four main sources of revenue which include: cloud services and license support, cloud license and on-premise license, hardware, and services. Cloud services and license support is its top revenue generator bringing in $6.662 billion in its third quarter of 2019.
  3. SAP (SAP): The Germany-based multinational software giant has annual sales of $27.4 billion. Its primary offerings are cloud based with the majority of its revenue derived from cloud and software but mostly coming from software.
  1. Adobe (ADBE): U.S.-based with $7.7 billion in annual revenue. Comprehensively it segments revenue by digital media and digital experience. This can be further broken down to subscriptions, product, and services and support. Overall, Adobe is becoming known for helping the world transition from paper to digital storage. Its most notable products include the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite, Document Cloud, and Experience Cloud.
  2. VMWare (VMW): U.S.-based with $7.9 billion in annual revenue. Traded publicly with majority ownership by Dell EMC. Wide range of cloud software and enterprise offerings that are compatible with Windows and Mac. Enterprise offerings are also available as standalone platforms. Specialties are in the area of corporate virtualization and workstation optimization.
  3. Salesforce.com (CRM): U.S.-based with $10.5 billion in annual sales. Software-as-a-service for corporate relationship management activities.
  4. HCL (HCLTECH): Indian-based company with $7.8 billion in annual sales. Founded in 1976. HCL is also focused around software services for businesses. It offers application integration services, infrastructure management services, digital and analytics services, cybersecurity, and software for internet of things (IoT) technology.
  1. Fiserv (FISV): U.S.-based with $5.7 billion in annual revenue. Focused on software for the financial services industry.
  2. Intuit (INTU): U.S.-based with $5.4 billion in annual revenue. Leading provider for personal and small business financial management. Top products include TurboTax, Quickbooks, and Mint.
  3. Amadeus (AMS): Spain-based with $5.5 billion in annual revenue. Provider of technology services for travel companies. Technology that supports travel searches, booking, and processing.

The Bottom Line

The 10 companies listed above are the top players in the software category globally. These companies are on the cusp of the newest and brightest technologies in each of their specialty areas with solid revenues supporting their activities which helps to make them top stock investments.