Re: Business of Compilers

Walter Banks <>
Sun, 16 May 2010 03:19:35 -0400

          From comp.compilers

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From: Walter Banks <>
Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Date: Sun, 16 May 2010 03:19:35 -0400
Organization: Netfront
References: 10-05-088
Keywords: practice
Posted-Date: 16 May 2010 11:29:18 EDT

Seima Rao wrote:

> Twenty years ago, there was buzz surrounding compilers in the
> ISV segment. I am eager to know what business opportunities are
> available in the field of compiler technology nowadays. Is it
> possible to run a company purely by selling compiler technology? How
> sustainable would be such an enterprise? What compiler products can
> possible be sold these days?

> [There seems to be a lot of compiler activity in India, less here in
> the US. I can think of a few standalone compiler tech companies
> that have been around for a while, but no new ones. Perhaps people
> in the biz can comment. -John]

John's comment is correct there are no recent new compiler companies.

There are two questions here.

Purely selling compiler technology? This is a tough market with a
limited number of potential customers who currently don't have tools
to create new products.

Compiler products? Compilers specifically requires a company to
identify a niche and be very good at it. Good compilers are expensive
to develop and take years to introduce into the market. Essentially
all of the compilers on the market now are created in a partnership
between the silicon companies or instruction set IP owners and
compiler companies.

In the broader sense of compiler products. There are some companies
that have niche market products that use compiler technology. These
include language to language code translators, specialized parsers and
human to machine interfaces. These companies appear and usually have
not lasted very long. The reason seems to be that they dominate a very
small market with a good product that doesn't have a customer base
large enough to sustain them or they are acquired by one of their


Walter Banks
Byte Craft Limited

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