Software Is Eating the World

Marc Andreessen? Ben Horowitz?

Dear Quote Investigator: The companies Uber and Lyft are worth billions of dollars and are juggernauts in the transportation sector. Yet, neither company owns a fleet of vehicles. The multibillion dollar company Airbnb has revolutionized the hospitality sector, yet it owns no hotels or motels. These companies control pivotal software systems connecting buyers and sellers. I am reminded of the following adage. Here are three versions:

  • Software is eating the world.
  • Software will eat the world.
  • Software will eat the everything.

Would you please explore this saying?

Quote Investigator: Marc Andreessen was the co-author of the first widely used Web browser. He is now an influential venture capitalist. He popularized the adage when he published an essay in “The Wall Street Journal” in 2011. Interestingly, he employed the statement more than a decade earlier.

In October 2000 Marc Andreessen and his business partner Ben Horowitz were interviewed in “CRN: The Newsweekly for Builders of Technology Solutions”. The pair had recently founded the company Loudcloud, a pioneering endeavor in the cloud computing sector. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI: 1

HOROWITZ_ As we thought about the new business that we might start, the big barrier to doing any of them was how do we get to technological critical mass? It’s critical, and we really wanted to buy that from somebody. As we were going through that [process], we were like, maybe we should just provide it.

ANDREESSEN_ It dovetails with what we saw at Netscape. The complexity curve of software on major Internet properties like Yahoo and everybody else is growing exponentially. Software is eating the world.

[At Netscape], we were churning out a lot of software products that contributed to that complexity.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading Software Is Eating the World


  1. 2000 October 9, CRN: The Newsweekly for Builders of Technology Solutions, Issue 915, CRN interview: Marc Andreessen & Ben Horowitz–Web enablers by Amy Rogers, Start Page 30. End Page 34, CMP Media Inc., Jericho, New York. (ProQuest)