Software market to generate $189 bln in 2004, led by Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, SAP

According to IDC, worldwide software revenue increased 5.1% to $178 bln in 2003 and is projected to rise to $189 bln in 2004. Over one-third of 2003 worldwide revenue was attributable to the five leading vendors: Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, SAP, and Computer Associates. Despite the challenges, IDC envisions steady growth to continue throughout the forecast period, with a 2003-2008 compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.9%. North America will remain the largest single market, accounting for slightly over one-half of worldwide packaged software consumption in 2003. Emerging markets in Asia and Central Europe will represent the fastest-growing opportunity, as well as the most demanding in terms of piracy, price, and political uncertainty.