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The Story Behind Escrow Software

Aug 17, 2007
In a software scenario there are normally two main parties involved; the software programmer or the software company, and the end-user or the company purchasing the software package. Escrow software is a means by which a third party is involved, called an escrow agent, with the responsibility of holding the software's source code.

Software is made up of code. Programmers write code in 'object' format which then gets compiled by the computer into 'source' format. Ultimately this code is then translated to 'machine' format which can be read by the computer's hardware, basically ones and zeros. Included with the software code, documentation is also normally present as part of the whole package.

The source code is the origin of the ultimate software application and has a substantial value in the sense that without it the application cannot be generated and therefore executed. This code is not normally delivered to the end-user (or client), but the part delivered would normally consist of the executable part only.

To many programmers and developers, supplying the source code is normally not a very desired option. By doing so, they are exposing their hard work to anyone in the field that can read the code. The client can easily supply the code to a third party which can then change the code or use it to develop something even more elaborate which will then compete, or worse, make obsolete the origin piece of work.

This is where escrow software agents come into play. These agents are responsible for handling and storing the source code. Their role is to protect both the rights of the end-users as well as the proprietary technology present in the programmer's code.

In cases where software is very costly or is business-critical to the organization involved, software is placed into escrow. But what advantages do parties take from escrow software.

End-User
Having an escrow software service, the user is guaranteed that the source code used for his business application can be available if anything had to happen to the programming organization or software developers. Anything can happen, from company insolvency to bankruptcy, or closure of business. By having escrow, the end-user is immune from these problems and in the case they actually occur, the source code can be utilized and handed over to other professional software companies who can continue in supporting the end-user.

Programmer/Developer
Two advantages can be highlighted for programmers. First, since the source code is escrowed, they can guarantee to the client that their high-cost investment is protected and not liable to any change of business they may encounter. Secondly, by escrow software, developers are assured that their proprietary assets found in the code are well protected from being copied and/or manipulated.

Escrow Software Agent
Needless to say, the responsibility handled to an escrow agent is compensated by the high rates these agents charge. After all, escrow software is not the every day software found on store shelves but most probably is a very precious item both for the people who developed it and also for those who are benefiting from it by using it for their business requirements and every day operations.

Escrow software has become a must for specialized software. It is currently the best solution for piece of mind both for developing companies as well to end-users alike.
About the Author
Sandro Azzopardi is a professional author who writes articles on his web site and local newspapers. http://www.theinfopit.com/technology/software/escrowsoftware.php
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