Software Business Models

Course Description & Learning Objectives

Software is eating the world but in many instances, the price of software is heading to (or is already at) zero.  What if all companies become software companies but no one is in the business of selling software?

  • What are potential business models for software? How is software developed, deployed, and distributed? What are the tradeoffs among distribution channels for various market segments?

  • How and why have software companies chosen a specific business model and what are the consequences?

  • What is the revenue source: code, executable, maintenance/support, SaaS, API calls, appliance, data, advertising, transactions, or something else? Where is the meter placed? What are the tradeoffs?

  • How is software licensed? How is it priced? How does the meter function?

  • How do software companies compete and how does the choice of business model influence the nature of competition?

  • How do software companies gain influence and advantage over other participants (e.g. distribution channel, hardware platform, cloud provider, etc.)?

  • How do software companies choose suitable partners and identify the most effective method of engaging these partners both from technical and business practice perspectives?

  • How do recent advancements in Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning influence the strategic choices facing software companies and other market participants?

Examples cover a variety of companies including Microsoft, Oracle/mySQL, IBM, SAP, Red Hat, Salesforce, ServiceNow, Adobe, DropBox, Atlassian, Slack, Cloudera and numerous startups.

Markets and topics covered include: Databases, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning, Open Source, SaaS, Cloud Storage.

Target Audience

  • Those who have or seek product management or similar operational roles and want to identify and articulate their objectives to others (especially upper management) effectively.

  • Anyone who would like to view industries and markets through the eyes of the general manager/CEO (whether at a start-up or an industry giant), not just aspiring CEOs but anyone in any function who wants to understand why and how strategic choices influence a variety of decisions.

  • Those pursing careers in services firms (management consulting, investment banking, investment management, private equity, venture capital, corporate & intellectual property law) who encounter clients from a variety of industries and markets and are required to identify and assess various strategic options quickly.

  • Those who are new to the Telecom/Media/Technology industry and seek a comprehensive overview.

  • Anyone who would like to apply a strategic filter when choosing employers by critiquing and handicapping their strategies.

  • Anyone who would like to demonstrate the skill MBA recruiters have the most difficult time finding: strategic thinking (full survey results).


Strategy in Practice is required.

Delivery Format

The primary delivery format is traditional classroom instruction.  Each class session is 5 to 7.5 hours depending on the dates scheduled.

Classes will not be recorded.  Students who miss a class session are welcome to attend a makeup session (if available) or the same session in a subsequent offering of the course.

Note the following recent research regarding passive vs. active note taking: To Remember a Lecture Better, Take Notes by Hand 


Class preparation is essential to get the most out of the course.  Most class sessions will include short tutorials or primers, whether related to technologies of interest, regulations, economic/financial terminology, or other concepts relevant to the discussion.  

Students are also expected to complete a group or individual project with guidance from the instructor to apply concepts and methodologies from the class to a specific context.

Registration & Fees

Learn more about upcoming courses and request to join a cohort.

CoursesReza Moazzami