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POSTSCRIPT: Every year, we publish an annual ranking of the hundred largest independent developers and publishers in the U.S. Over the years, The Soft-letter 100--somewhat like the Fortune 500--seems to have become one of the industry's most prestigeous benchmarks of accomplishment. To be sure, we've never claimed that the hundred companies on our list are the most profitable, or that they produce the finest products or have the happiest customers. But clearly these companies do enough things right to end up well ahead of several thousand competitors.

Besides revenue data, our rankings include a good deal of useful statistical background--previous sales history, employment, growth rates, product and platform categories, company age, public vs. private ownership, and (new this year) export ratios. As a result, our data is now widely used for analyzing company performance and projecting market growth. What makes this information especially valuable is that the majority of Soft-letter 100 companies are privately held, so the data often isn't available anywhere else.

Naturally, we depend heavily on the cooperation (and honesty) of companies that provide us with data. All of our data is supplied by companies on the record; we don't rely on anonymous "analysts' estimates" for any information we publish. we also continue to evolve our qualification rules, to reflect changes in the industry itself. Soft-letter 100 rankings aren't intended to be a catchall for everyone who produces a "software" product. Rather, our focus is on personal computer software--defined as products primarily intended for individual users, that run on general purpose machines (as opposed to special purpose processors, such as videogame machines). Inevitably, there's some subjectivity in how we apply these rules, but this year we've promised to tighten up our eligibility standards and ask for extra documentation for a few borderline cases.

As this issue goes to press, we've already mailed out about 4,000 survey questionnaires to companies on our master mailing list. We're also enclosing a blank questionnaire with this issue, in the hope that we'll hear about companies that otherwise fall through the cracks. If you think your own company--or a company you know about--qualifies for a place on the Soft-letter 100, please let us know.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Soft-letter
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Soft-Letter's method of compiling its list of 100 largest independent developers and publishers in the United States
Date:Jan 17, 1991
Previous Article:Central Point Software president Corey Smith.
Next Article:A parting thought.

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