The enterprise, or corporate, software business faces a world in which there is little organic growth, few compelling new applications and a dearth of untapped customers. Companies that need enterprise software mostly have what they need — and then some. Roger McNamee, a long-time technology investor and the founder of the private-equity firm Elevation Partners, asserts that the software business isn’t just growing up; it has already reached adulthood.
Lacking compelling new markets, and facing saturated demand for their existing wares, the industry’s largest players are doing the logical thing: They’re taking advantage of their strong balance sheets and buying growth. They are, it seems, proving that Larry Ellison knew exactly what he was talking about all along.