The Norwegian software industry has consolidated over the past couple of years, as smaller companies merge resources and expertise to achieve greater market leverage. Horizontal partnerships have also become popular, as well as technology alliances with like-minded international corporations.
Foreign companies also find Norway an attractive place to invest because of the high level of local software expertise and relatively low price-to-earnings ratio compared to other countries in Europe. There are advanced ICT users in both the private and public sectors, and the fact that Norwegians are open to innovation and new products makes the country an excellent testing ground for pilot products from global software majors including Microsoft and IBM.
In addition, Norwegian companies are looking beyond national boundaries in an effort to access new markets through strategic international alliances. One of many important international partnerships signed in 2000 was between Birdstep Technology, a world-class provider of wireless technology and related infrastructure, and Software AG of Germany, Europe's largest ICT systems software provider. Thanks to their partnership, Software AG's Tamino XML Database will now be able to exchange information with Birdstep's DataBase Engine on a variety of handheld wireless platforms.