The Software Industry Special Interest Group (SI SIG) is a part of the Computer History Museum and is dedicated to preserving the history of the software Industry. This effort began in 1997 as a web site created by Luanne Johnson and Burton Grad, two software industry veterans who were concerned that the history of this vital industry would be lost unless an effort was made to preserve the records of early software companies and the personal recollections of the people who were involved in the initial development of the industry. The web site was created to provide a source of information about people who made important contributions to software history and to solicit input from anyone who might know of the existence of records documenting the industry’s formative years.
In the November 1999 issue of Fortune magazine, the author of an article on the most important businessmen of the 20th Century wrote that prior to Microsoft, pure software companies didn’t exist. This clearly erroneous statement inspired Johnson and Grad to increase their efforts to correct this common misperception and they decided to create a more formal structure to pursue the goal of preserving the history of the software industry.
The Software History Center was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation under the laws of California in February, 2000, with the support of seed money from a number of software industry pioneers. Our founding donors were Computer Associates International, David A. Duffield, Burton Grad, The Imlay Foundation, Joseph A. Piscopo, Lawrence J. Schoenberg and Sam Wyly.
In January 2005, the Software History Center merged with the Computer History Museum and formed the Software Business History Committee to continue these preservation efforts.
On May 1, 2004, the Charles Babbage Foundation in cooperation with the Computer History Museum and the Software History Center obtained a major grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to explore and pursue the use of the Internet as a prmary means of collecting and communicating valuable historic information about selected companies in the information technology field. Luanne Johnson was selected as the Principal Investigator and led the project through its conclusion in December 2006.
The Computer History Museum has combined the follow on work from both of these sources into the Software Industry SIG and will continue the collection and preservation efforts of these previous organizations.