Selection of books

Michael A. Cusumano - The Business of software: what every manager, programmer, and entrepreneur must know...

The Business of software: what every manager, programmer, and entrepreneur must know to thrive and survive in good times and bad

Michael A. Cusumano


The world's leading expert on the global software industry and coauthor of the bestseller Microsoft Secrets reveals the inner workings of software giants like IBM, Microsoft, and Netscape and shows what it takes to create, develop, and manage a successful company in good times and bad in the most fiercely competitive business in the world.

In the $600 billion software industry it is the business, not the technology, that determines success or failure. This fact one that thousands of once glamorous startups have unhappily discovered for themselves is the welldocumented conclusion of this enormously readable and revealing new book by Michael Cusumano, based on nearly twenty years of research and consulting with software producers around the world.

Cusumano builds on dozens of personal experiences and case studies to show how issues of strategy and organization are irrevocably linked with those of managing the technology and demonstrates that a thorough understanding of these issues is vital to success. At the heart of the book Cusumano poses seven questions that underpin a threepronged management framework. He argues that companies must adopt one of three basic business models: become a products company at one end of the strategic spectrum, a services company at the other end, or a hybrid solutions company in between. The author describes the characteristics of the different models, evaluates their strengths and weaknesses, and shows how each is more or less appropriate for different stages in the evolution of a business as well as in good versus bad economic times. Readers will also find invaluable Cusumanos treatment of software development issues ranging from architecture and teams to project management and testing, as well as two chapters devoted to what it takes to create a successful software startup. Highlights include eight fundamental guidelines for evaluating potential software winners and Cusumanos probing analysis, based on firsthand knowledge, of ten startups that have met with varying degrees of success.

The Business of Software is timely essential reading for managers, programmers, entrepreneurs, and others who follow the global software industry.


software industry, business, strategy

catalogue card

Title: The Business of software: what every manager, programmer, and entrepreneur must know to thrive and survive in good times and bad
Author: Michael A. Cusumano
Imprint: New York: Free Press, 2004
Subject: Software ― Management
ISBN: 0-7432-1580-X


1. The Business of Software: A Personal View
2. Strategy for Software Companies: What to Think About
3. Services, Products, and More Services: How Software Became a Business
4. Best Practices in Software Development: Beyond the Software Factory
5. Software Entrepreneurship: Essential Elements of a Successful Start-up
6. Start-up Case Studies: Software Products, Services, and Hybrid Solutions
7. Conclusion: The "Ideal" Versus "Realistic" Software Business

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