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Science Update: Stronger sales for software packages

NEARLY pounds 4bn was spent on computer software in Britain last year, according to a financial analysis published by Marketline International. This represents an increase of just under 8 per cent on 1992 sales. Increasingly vendors are selling ready-to-use 'packaged' software which users can then modify as required. The packaged market was worth pounds 2.3bn, whereas bespoke or 'customised' software accounted pounds 1.7bn.

Sales of software for personal computers reached pounds 451m in 1993. Microsoft was the largest software vendor in the UK last year, with a market share of 22 per cent. Lotus and Wordperfect's market shares were 16 and 15 per cent respectively. Windows began to out-sell Dos applications in the second quarter of 1993.

According to Marketline, small software vendors will increasingly be squeezed out as corporate users link up their PCs into local area networks (LANs) or Wide Area Networks (WANs). Companies' IT departments will determine which networking software is to be bought and this, the market analysts believe, will tend to favour the larger vendors at the expense of smaller suppliers.