What is the state of (desktop) micro ISVs in the U.S. now?


1

I'm interested in understanding the state of what I'll call "desktop micro ISVs" in the U.S. in 2011. By this I mean one-person computer software companies, creating desktop computer software, and selling it via download. This would be servicing the general interested public, not a niche industry.

The sorts of questions I have are things like (rough estimates are fine):

  • How many such companies exist in the U.S. currently?
  • What is the range of profitability for these in the U.S. now?
  • How likely is such a company to face legal problems, such as patent infringement issues (given the U.S.'s problematic patent law regarding software)?
  • Given finished software, what sort of weekly time commitment should one expect in terms of running the business?
  • What sources can you recommend to help understand more?

(Tag editing requested)

Software Business Micro Startup

asked Oct 13 '11 at 12:48
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Chelonian
146 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll
  • Why are you asking this question? This really isn't the right forum for this - it is a broad survey and not very helpful to anyone even if exact answers were known. – Tim J 8 years ago

1 Answer


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A couple of points:

I would say like the rest of desktop software, microISV desktop software is waning. Not dead. Not gone. Just not the place to find huge home runs.

MicroISV profitability ranges from 0 to $1m gross revenue, with most successful microISVs doing 2-3 times what they could as employee/freelance programmers.

I know of not one instance of a microISV confronted with a patent issue.

As for weekly time commitment - the more time you spend intelligently, the more your revenue.

Take a look at the Business of Software Forum at (http://discuss.joelonsoftware.com/?biz )

answered Feb 28 '12 at 11:52
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Bob Walsh
2,620 points
  • where do you get your data from? – Tim J 8 years ago
  • Discussions with several hundred micro-ISVs and self-funded startup founders. – Bob Walsh 8 years ago

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