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From Airline Reservations to Sonic the Hedgehog: A History of the Software Industry

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Overview

From its first glimmerings in the 1950s, the software industry has evolved to become the fourth largest industrial sector of the US economy. Starting with a handful of software contractors who produced specialized programs for the few existing machines, the industry grew to include producers of corporate software packages and then makers of mass-market products and recreational software. This book tells the story of each of these types of firm, focusing on the products they developed, the business models they followed, and the markets they served. By describing the breadth of this industry, Martin Campbell-Kelly corrects the popular misconception that one firm is at the center of the software universe. He also tells the story of lucrative software products such as IBM's CICS and SAP's R/3, which, though little known to the general public, lie at the heart of today's information infrastructure. With its wealth of industry data and its thoughtful judgments, this book will become a starting point for all future investigations of this fundamental component of computer history.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Campbell-Kelly (computer science, Univ. of Warwick, U.K.) presents a balanced history of the software industry from the 1950s to 1995. Dividing the business into three sectors (software contracting, corporate software precuts, and mass-market software products), he examines the key products and players in each. There is an interval of about a decade from one sector to the next, and the book follows the chronological time line of software development. Major software manufacturers of the past and present are discussed, as are their business models. The author concludes with some observations on what makes the U.S. software industry so powerful and profitable. Many years of research went into this volume, and the text is well supplemented with industry data such as sales figures, the classification of software titles, flowcharts, and advertisements for products. The result is a well-rounded look at the software industry from a business perspective. Including extensive chapter notes, this book is highly recommended for academic and larger public libraries.-Colleen Cuddy, NYU Sch. of Medicine Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"...a crucial document for anyone interested in understanding the history of software from a business perspective." Case firstmonday.org

"A timely reminder of earlier booms and busts..." Barry Fox New Scientist

"A valuable long view of...the high-visibility Silicon Valley stock-market bubble." Steven Poole The Guardian

"A well-rounded look at the software industry from a business perspective. Highly recommended." Colleen Cuddy Library Journal

"Campbell-Kelly is the first historian to give us a comprehensive overview of this hidden industry..." David Siegfried Booklist

"From Airline Reservations to Sonic the Hedgehog should command a wide audience..." Slashdot.org

"I strongly recommend this book..." Paul Ceruzzi The Times Higher Education Supplement

"In his incisive, panoramic book... Martin Campbell-Kelly delivers all three: context, insight, even occasional humor." Steve Lohr The New York Times

"In his incisive, panoramic book...Martin Campbell-Kelly delivers...context, insight, even occasional humor." Steve Lohr The New York Times

"A timely reminder of earlier booms and busts." Barry Fox New Scientist

"A valuable long view of what is...the high-visibility Silicon Valley stock-market bubble." Steven Poole The Guardian

"I strongly recommend this book..." Paul Ceruzzi Paul Ceruzzi

"In his incisive, panoramic book...Martin Campbell-Kelly delivers all three: context, insight, even occasional humor." Steve Lohr The New York Times

"...Provides a smooth, very readable ride through the growth of one of the last half century's most important industries." Cal Clinchard PC Today

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262033039
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2003
  • Series: History of Computing
  • Pages: 388
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Martin Campbell-Kelly is Reader in Computer Science at the University of Warwick.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
1 The Software Industry 1
2 Origins of the Software Contractor, the 1950s 29
3 Programming Services, the 1960s 57
4 Origins of the Software Products Industry, 1965-1970 89
5 The Shaping of the Software Products Industry, the 1970s 121
6 The Maturing of the Corporate Software Products Industry, 1980-1995 165
7 Early Development of the Personal Computer Software Industry, 1975-1983 201
8 Not Only Microsoft: The Maturing of the Personal Computer Software Industry, 1983-1995 231
9 Home and Recreational Software 269
10 Reflections on the Success of the U.S. Software Industry 303
Notes 313
Sources of Chapter Frontispieces 347
Bibliography 349
Index 361
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2004

    Insightful!

    From Airline Reservations to Sonic the Hedgehog may sound like a mystifying title, but this book provides a reasonable overview of the history of the software industry. At times, given the ups and downs in the industry, it can¿t avoid sounding like a catalog of defunct firms and obsolete software. However, this chronology is quite useful for anyone who wants to come up to speed very quickly and very generally on the main trends in the industry. Author Martin Campbell-Kelly covers some of the industry¿s seminal events and the main categories of software. Vexingly or refreshingly, he takes pains to say as little about Microsoft as possible, making it clear that others have written enough on that subject. So, with that absence duly noted, we recommend this book to those who want an inside history of the software industry, from massive mainframes to little blue cartoon porcupines.

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