An independent software vendor (ISV) is an organization specializing in making or selling software, designed for mass or niche markets. This is in contrast to software developed for in-house use only within an organization or software designed or adapted for a single, specific customer.
ISVs' software may be for any purpose. Examples include software for real estate brokers, scheduling for healthcare personnel, barcode scanning, stock maintenance, gambling, retailing, energy exploration, vehicle fleet management, even child care management software.
An ISV makes and sells software products that run on one or more computer hardware or operating system platforms. Companies that make the platforms, such as Microsoft, Cisco, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Novell, Google, Oracle, Apple, SAP, and salesforce.com encourage and lend support to ISVs, often with special "business partner" programs. These programs enable the platform provider and the ISV to leverage joint strengths and convert them into incremental business opportunities.