Computer software in many respects seems to be a particularly difficult product to understand. First of all, this is due to its extraordinary functional diversity. The software penetrates into various fields of activity and faces more and more complex problems, because of which, apparently, computerization due to an increase in equipment capacity and a decrease in its cost can provide a solution.
At the same time, in some cases, the computerization of a situation can contribute to its complication, which will make us doubt the multiple meaning of the concept of complexity. In the economy of software and games, numerous innovations are taking place that relate to all aspects of software production: the appearance of new products, new production methods, and the use of new tools.
If sometimes changes can be very quick (for example, web browsing software has become a common and widely used tool that was not there a few years ago), you must also take into account time and Learning and Learning efforts that explain why certain innovations spread can be much slower. These changes, which occur over a very short period of time (software production as a separate activity, exist for no more than thirty years of existence) explain the technological instability that seems to be characteristic of the software economy and which makes it more difficult to analyze. Analysis is not easier from an economic point of view. What is software economically? Is this a product or service? Is a product for which property rights can be exercised? Under what technical and / or legal conditions? What determines its price? Can the economists value theory be applied to it?
To answer these questions, we will see how the technical and economic features of software make it difficult to use the usual categories of economists. Earlier, we will study the general features of extremely rapid technological development, characteristic of the software economy. The separation of software for mac and PC software into a more technical dimension and a more theoretical dimension was made to facilitate the explanation of reasoning; these two dimensions are closely related in reality.
The software economy is undergoing constant changes that are consistent with all the innovative models allocated to the entire economy (C). These innovations are in response to the growing complexity of the problems that software must solve (B) over a relatively short period when the software economy has been seen as an economically separate activity for about thirty years (A).
If the production of computers is about half a century (it begins after the Second World War), the production of software as a separate type of activity refers only to the beginning of the 1970s. It should be recognized that the use of computers has always required the availability of program activity, but this was carried out exclusively by users, with the first computers supplied “bare”. In the early sixties, equipment was supplied with software (mainly operating systems and programming languages), but only equipment was displayed.
The decision to split marks the birth of an independent software economy, in particular the development of SSCI. This movement will be strengthened by the development of software packages of the eighties. It is interesting to note that if some recent changes seem to go in the opposite direction, offering global IT solutions, combining hardware and software components, they do not question the autonomy of the software economy, suppliers of this type. solutions that buy most of the software that they integrate.
Therefore, within a very short period (thirty years), we must analyze the events that are schematically corresponding to the transition from handicraft production to large-scale automated industry, a transition that took several centuries in other sectors. Turning to the three main stages of professional development in the industry identified by Touren (1962), we can say that software production quickly moved from stage A (the predominance of the autonomous action of a skilled worker, in this case, a scientist) to stage B (the prevalence of centralized organization of work uniting analysts, programmers, etc.), and that it is already included in stage C automation of production with the development of software engineering tools. At the same time, the nature of the problems that the software should solve has changed significantly.