“Coffee’s for closers only.”

– Glengarry Glen Ross


Companies commonly “sell” software and data in two very different ways. First and most commonly, they offer the right to use the software, data, or other digital goods – a license or “subscription.” Note that by offer, we include cases where the software is “given away” for $0, e.g., freeware or “open source” models.

Less commonly, organizations may sell the “full” ownership of software or data, either as assets or by selling the equity of the owning company. In either case, most “sales” involve a number of common risks for Sellers related to ownership, warranty, IP infringement, information security, or taxation. Generally, Sellers are individuals or organizations who:

  • Offer “commercial” pre-written computer software such as Microsoft Windows or Oracle Database
  • Offer “open source” pre-written computer software such as the Linux kernel or Kubernetes
  • Offer physical goods that include firmware or software such as cars, TVs, or “smart home” devices
  • Offer cloud services or host web applications like Google Apps or Salesforce
  • Offer data sources, APIs, or digital goods like Wikipedia, ArcGIS, or ThemeForest
  • Raise capital for a company developing or owning software or data, either through debt or equity
  • Sell or transfer the assets or equity of a company developing or owning software or data

For example, you or your organization may be a:


A company whose offerings include data, software, or “hardware”