It is a myth that the UK cannot create successful software firms – it just needs fields with an absence of competition, that’s all.
The latest PwC rankings of software firms reports an uncomfortable but well-known truth: that we are pretty rubbish when it comes to competing on the global stage in information technology. It’s not just us, of course. They may have made a dog’s dinner of global finance but the Americans own software.
The three top US software vendors listed by PwC are also three of the biggest four software companies in the world and they generate more than €55bn annually – about the same as the entirety of the European software industry. Uncle Sam’s boys account for 75 per cent of companies in the top 20 listed and 30 per cent of the hot 100.
British firms take up 15 per cent of the top 100 European software companies and just 2.5 per cent of the revenue of the top 100. We’re bigger than Germany (despite the mass of SAP) and France but then we do have the City of London to target and our biggest companies tend to operate in financial and accounting markets that are difficult for foreigners to move in on.
For the record, Sage is top of the pops over here, ahead of Misys, Logica, Symbian and Autonomy. The situation is likely to get worse and never get better as Americans continue to chomp up the opposition having mastered the tricky art of M&A.