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An independent software vendor (ISV) creates and sells software that runs on a variety of hardware and operating system platforms like Linux, Apple or Windows. ISVs develop everything from basic utilities to enterprise productivity apps to customer relationship management (CRM) and automation tools, as well as highly specialized, vertical- or niche-market applications. They tend to create price competition and increase the pace of technology innovation in their markets.

ISVs typically develop their software in partnership with the hardware manufacturers and the companies that produce the platforms. Companies such as IBM, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, SUSE, Salesforce, Microsoft, and others provide them with support and resources via ISV programs. These programs encourage ISVs to develop more applications for a company’s platform, which in turn provides their customers with more offerings to choose from on their platform.

ISV programs often provide technical support, special licensing and pricing, joint marketing initiatives, and vendor certification programs to the ISVs to foster long-term business alliances that are mutually beneficial. Even the largest platform owners like IBM, Oracle, and Microsoft would never have sufficient internal resources and expertise to produce all of the applications needed by every niche market and industry that their ISV partners can cover. Likewise, the ISVs benefit from the ability to market their products to the large customer bases of their platform partners.