Software Exports: The Real Stats Are Staggering

In his commentary "Uncle Sam's stats: Call them unreliable" (Top of the News, July 18), Howard Gleckman decries the lack of accurate data on the size of U.S. software exports. We find that even Gleckman's estimate of the value of such exports at $4 billion is way too low. In fact, International Data Corp.'s estimate is that U.S. vendors received total revenues from sales of packaged software (i.e., not including custom software) of nearly $52 billion in 1993--of which they exported over $24 billion.

As he points out, Microsoft Corp. alone is responsible for over $2 billion of this, but IBM exported over $6 billion worth. More startling is that hundreds of other, smaller, independent software vendors exported more than $12 billion worth.

R. Paul Mason

Software Research Group

International Data Corp.

Framingham, Mass.

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