My top five software companies

I did not list these companies in the order of importance, but each of them is a part of my daily routines, and it “s going to stay this way for a while.


During the last 20 years, when I turn on my computer it displays the familiar logo of Windows OS. Isn “t it something? Can you name any other software which became a fabric of life of so many people around the world and has such longevity? I can “t. Microsoft is also the most popular object for bashing. Programmers of all nations love to hate Microsoft. They “d give you some technical reasons trying to explain why Windows sucks while Linux or Unix or Mac rules.

While I can often understand technical reasons for not liking a specific feature of Windows, I do not accept the amount of anger in most of the blogs or articles writing about them. IMO, there are two main reasons for such anger:

a) In the nineties, MS was attracting the best programmers in the world, and it would give a warm feeling to an average Joe when he could point at bugs or design issues in Windows;

b)Bill Gates is a filthy rich person and Joe is not.

The freedom of blogs allows everyone to proclaim something like, “Bill Gates sucks rdquo;. For some people it became a daily habit like brushing teeth.

I “m not a Microsoft developer. I know that Microsoft is not a kosher company when it comes to running business (who is?). But I always remember that Microsoft is a part of my life one way or the other, and I give them a credit for this.

Sun Microsystems

Back in 1998, I was programming in PowerBuilder and was looking to make a move to another field. It was a kind of a jumping the sinking ship situation. This ship was not exactly sinking at that time, but I was an independent contractor and was looking for a way to maximize my hourly rate. PowerBuilder as all other programming tools or languages are just the tools, and I try not to get emotionally attached to them. If it does the job, fine. If there is a better tool for the job ndash; just use it. Do not fall in love with a programming language. You can “t love a screwdriver, can you? Do not love something that can “t love you back.

Anyway, I switched to Java and do not regret it. Today Java is a backbone of most of the enterprise IT shops, which makes me feel home in so many working places. For many years Java put bread and butter on my family “s table, and this is something that can “t and won “t be forgotten. And my family is just one of the millions and millions of homes that make a better living than in a pre-Java times. Let alone families ndash; countries. Java brought such a huge country as India to a different level of their history. For thousands of people in India Java gave a chance to break out from poverty, to break the written in stone caste laws that stated that if you were born to a family of a street vendor, you did not have a chance to move to a higher society.

I remember Raj Kapoor movies from my childhood hellip; Most of these movies had pretty much the same plot ndash; a poor guy working in the factory falls in love with a beautiful girl (with a sexy belly) from a rich family. Her parents would never allow a marriage with this low caste guy. The entire movie theater was in tears. If only Raj knew Java! He “d go to America, made some serious dough and would have come back to his loved one in white Toyota Camry (remember the ending of Pretty Woman with Richard Gere?)

Seriously, Java affected my life in a very positive way. These days it lost its glamour, people are complaining that it “s not sexy anymore, it “s obese and has cellulite. Maybe. But I still like it and respect Sun for giving us such a solid product.


Its search engine is sooooo fast that it changes the way I do things. I never counted, but I go to at least fifty times a day. Google makes everything a click away. Need to find help for the API you are currently using? Google will respond faster that the IDE of this API that is installed on your local hard disk. Want to purchase a dog that has long years, one leg longer than other and blue eyes? Google will connect you with the right breeder in another part of the world in split of a second. Need to send a $1000-an-hour prostitute to your hotel room in Washington? Go to I like gourmet food, and a couple of Zagat guides that rate restaurants are sitting on my book shelf. But, why standing up and making a step toward the book case to pick this Zagat if I can go to Google and get up to date info about dining places?

BTW, was there life before Google maps? How people would find places without it?

How about this simple and smart advertising business model that was overlooked by Microsoft that was positive that the only way to make money was selling licenses?

Last year I got a call from Google “s recruiter asking if I wanted to apply for a job there. I did not apply for a simple reason ndash; did not feel like going through their humiliating interviewing routine what a 25-year old kids would ask me question like, “How would you count all lakes in the USA? rdquo;. I “m embarrassed to admit, but I have no idea how to count these freaking lakes. Just do not want to fail the interview. But Google is da man, and I really like the fact that it “s a part of my life.


Three years ago I knew that Adobe is a little company that created a PDF Reader and a couple of tools for photo hobbyists and illustrators.

Two and a half years ago they “ve purchased yet another small company that had a couple of little known overpriced tools for Web developers and a player for Internet banners and skip-intro pages. After the merger, a new version and new pricing policy for their tool Flex was announced, and it was clear to me that this is the best Web API for server side Java applications.

Two years ago I was writing a book about use of Flex; my two co-authors and I have founded a company to help enterprises develop rich Internet applications that include Flex. This is a good example of technology driving business. Today, more and more companies realize that Flex is the best choice for RIA, but we had a good nose and were one of the first adopters of this technology, which opens up a market for us that will only get bigger and bigger. Flex allowed to add a little of black caviar to Java “s bread and butter. Do you want to share this dinner with me?

Farata Systems

This company is influencing my life for a simple reason – I am one of the founders of this small software development and consulting boutique. In my rather long programming career several times I either had an idea of developing some product, or I was approached by other programmers, “Hey, I “ve got this idea – let “s develop such-and-such program together. It “ll sell like hot cakes rdquo;. I was always rejecting these offers understanding that the main word in a life cycle of any product is “sell rdquo;. You can have the greatest idea in the world, you can even implement it, but selling the software is an art that must be backed by some substantial and often expensive PR and marketing. But two years ago I broke the rule, and we “ve created this company. We have our own software, we consult, we write, we hire and manage people, we speak at the conferences promoting our services and software products. We are building a brand, which is a time consuming but interesting job.

There is a lot of good software companies out there, and each person has his favorites. I listed mine and wish all of them success and prosperity.


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