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What happened to the Finnish software industry in 2011 - some early results

We have now around 200 responses to the survey, although a third of these are still in paper form and need to be entered into our database. Nevertheless, this is plenty of data to restart our research blog.

In this first post of this year, I will be looking at what happened in the Finnish software industry in 2011. Looking back, the single most important event in 2011 was Nokia’s decision to discontinue Symbian and adopt Windows phone as the primary smartphone operating system. As covered in our last year’s report, this lead to layoffs by the subcontractors and by Nokia. But the cloud had a silver lining in two different forms: First, many Finnish software companies were having difficulties in recruiting new people and saw this as an opportunity. Second, many companies saw Windows Phone a new big opportunity. In fact, last year equally many companies predicted that they would develop for Windows Phone as for Android. The data this far shows that the number of firms targeting Windows Phone this year is almost double that from the last year, but it is still clearly the third platform. We will be covering mobile platform soon in more detail in another post.

Another important issue about 2011 is that where as 2010 was clearly the first year of recovery after the difficult year 2009, last year was the first normal year for the software industry, at least if we look at the data presented in the figure below. The figure is a percentile plot, which is our favorite for visualizing data over time. Each line represents a percentile of the firms. The 50% line is the median, or the most typical company. And the 95% line shows where the top 5% of companies are. Comparing the years 2010 and 2011, we see that most of the lines point upward, signifying that on average companies grew more (or lost less) in 2011 than 2011. Nevertheless, the challenging economic situation of particularly late 2011 shows still in the graph and the growth rates remain slightly below the pre-recession levels. We will update these figures in another post when we have more data available.