Best Selling U.S. Software Includes Some Surprises

SAN FRANCISCO (01/27/2000) - Software: You need it, want it, crave it. But when the chips are down, what will you actually buy?

Well, taxes are most likely to motivate people to dash to the local computer store. According to PC Data Inc., a company that provides sales analysis on software and hardware, last year more PC users bought Intuit Corp.'s TurboTax than any other software title. The second most popular title? TurboTax Deluxe.

Every year, PC Data compiles a list of the 20 top-selling software titles for both PC and Macintosh users. The company also lists the top games, the top home education titles, the top reference titles, the top productivity titles, and the top business titles. All of these lists are based on software sold at retail and through mail-order chains. PC Data says that this sales data represents about 80 percent of the U.S. software market.

The specter of Uncle Sam coming to collect for the U.S. Treasury wasn't the only thing that had you shelling out cash. (In fact, there was only one other tax program in the top 20 -- Block Financial's TaxCut 1998 Deluxe Filing Edition in spot 12). According to the newly released PC Data list, protecting your computer files is another important concern: Symantec Corp.'s Norton Antivirus 5.0 came in third place.

Surprised that you haven't seen Microsoft Corp.'s name yet? Not to worry: The software giant had no fewer than five titles on the list of top-selling software in 1999. Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition Upgrade took spot four and Microsoft Windows 98 Upgrade eased into spot eight. In fact, even though Microsoft didn't top the overall best-sellers list, it was the largest software publisher last year, raking in almost 25 percent of all software dollars spent.

All the popular software didn't have to do with money or business, thank goodness. (All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.) The bottom half of the top-sellers list is mainly concerned with fun and play, ranging from Electronic Arts' Sim City 3000 in spot ten to Havas Interactive in fifteenth place to Microsoft Flight Simulator, which flew in under the wire to take last position.

One interesting note: Microsoft Office didn't even rank on the overall top-sellers chart. In fact, the Microsoft Office 2000 Upgrade only earned the 15th spot on the top-selling business software list. That's down from last year when Microsoft Office 97 Upgrade rated tenth place on the business list. And none of the other office suites even appeared in the top 20 titles -- this year or last.

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