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Commercial software, or seldom payware, is a
computer software Software is a collection of Instruction (computer science), instructions that tell a computer how to work. This is in contrast to Computer hardware, hardware, from which the system is built and actually performs the work. At the low level langu ...

computer software
that is produced for
sale
sale
or that serves
commercial Commercial may refer to: * a dose of advertising conveyed through media (such as - for example - radio or television) ** Radio advertisement ** Television advertisement * (adjective for:) commerce, a system of voluntary exchange of products and se ...

commercial
purposes. Commercial software can be
proprietary software Proprietary software, also known as non-free software or closed-source software, is computer software for which the software's publisher or another person reserves some rights from licenses to use, modify, share modifications, or share the softwa ...
or
free and open-source software Free and open-source software (FOSS) is software Software is a collection of instructions that tell a computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. ...
.


Background and challenge

While
software Software is a collection of Instruction (computer science), instructions that tell a computer how to work. This is in contrast to Computer hardware, hardware, from which the system is built and actually performs the work. At the low level lang ...

software
creation by programming is a time and labor-intensive process, comparable to the creation of physical
goods In economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with value; in particular, the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distribution, and Consumption (economics), consumption of goods ...
, the reproduction, duplication and sharing of software as digital goods is in comparison disproportionately easy. No special machines or expensive additional resources are required, unlike almost all physical goods and products. Once a software is created it can be copied in infinite numbers, for almost zero cost, by anyone. This made
commercialization Commercialization or commercialisation is the process A process is a series or set of Action (philosophy), activities that interact to produce a result; it may occur once-only or be recurrent or periodic. Things called a process include: Busines ...
of software for the
mass market The term "mass market" refers to a market for goods produced on a large scale for a significant number of end consumer A consumer is a person or a group who intends to order, orders, or uses purchased goods, products, or services primarily for ...
in the beginning of the computing era impossible. Unlike hardware, it was not seen as trade-able and commercialize-able good. Software was plainly shared for free (
hacker culture The hacker culture is a subculture of individuals who enjoy the intellectual challenge of creatively overcoming the limitations of software systems to achieve novel and clever outcomes. The act of engaging in activities (such as programming or o ...

hacker culture
) or distributed bundled with sold hardware, as part of the service to make the hardware usable for the customer. Due to changes in the computer industry in the 1970s and 1980s, software slowly became a commercial good by itself. In 1969, IBM, under threat of
antitrust Competition law is a law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is ...
litigation, led the industry change by starting to charge separately for (mainframe) software and services, and ceasing to supply source code. In 1983 binary software became copyrightable by the ''
Apple vs. Franklin An apple is an edible fruit produced by an apple tree (''Malus domestica''). Apple fruit tree, trees are agriculture, cultivated worldwide and are the most widely grown species in the genus ''Malus''. The tree originated in Central Asia, wher ...
'' law decision, before only source code was copyrightable. Additionally, the growing availability of millions of computers based on the same
microprocessor A microprocessor is a computer processor where the data processing logic and control is included on a single integrated circuit An integrated circuit or monolithic integrated circuit (also referred to as an IC, a chip, or a microchip ...

microprocessor
architecture created for the first time a compatible mass market worth and ready for binary
retail softwareRetail software is computer software Software is a collection of Instruction (computer science), instructions and data (computing), data that tell a computer how to work. This is in contrast to Computer hardware, physical hardware, from which th ...
commercialization.


Commercialization models for software


Proprietary software commercialization

Common business wisdom is that software as digital good can be commercialized to the mass-market most successful as
proprietary {{Short pages monitor