I'm looking for a word that describes a company that sells software. I'm trying to use it in the following context:

"Older operating systems, such as Windows XP and MacOSX 10.8, have several security weaknesses because they are no longer supported by their _______."

I thought of using "vendors" but that doesn't quite seem to fit. "Parent companies" seems too clunky. I'm thinking "distributers" might fit best but even that doesn't sound quite right.

  • I am assuming "creators" would not be sufficient because the rights may have been sold to another company? "Owners" or "corporate owners" seems pretty clear. (I suppose "corporate" is unnecessary but it seems to imply add something)
    – Tom22
    May 13, 2017 at 1:05
  • 1
    why not just say, “... Because they are no longer supported.”
    – Jim
    May 13, 2017 at 1:21
  • But really you want to say, “...have several security weaknesses that have not been fixed because these OSes are no longer supported.” (I.e., the weaknesses are not a result of being unsupported- they were design flaws built in while they were still supported.)
    – Jim
    May 13, 2017 at 1:31
  • 2
    There's no such thing as “a software”.
    – tchrist
    May 13, 2017 at 1:48
  • 1
    What is “a software”? It makes no sense. This does not exist. It is a mass noun not a count noun. It is no more countable than air or water. So too silverware and hardware and all the rest. Not countable.
    – tchrist
    May 13, 2017 at 1:54

2 Answers 2


In that specific instance, consider calling them developers.

developer noun : one that develops: such as ... c : a person or company that develops computer software - M-W

Your sample sentence would then read as follows:

  • Older operating systems ... are no longer supported by their developers.

Here are some examples from around the web (emphasis, mine; <#include disclaimer.h> for any commercial links):

  • Programs that are no longer supported by their developers, such as Windows XP, are known as end-of-life software. - Nick, tcitechs.com

  • WannaCry also highlighted the problems involved with protecting legacy systems and software and operating systems that are no longer supported by their developers ... - Sue Marquette Poremba, IT Business Edge

  • The good thing is that most plugins and themes, regardless of whether they are freemium or premium, are supported by their developers and updated regularly to stay compatible and up to date. - enterprisebydesign.com.au

  • 1
    Wow, this was almost obvious but I totally missed it.
    – Mocking
    Aug 11, 2017 at 19:19

Manufacturer is the term most often used in this context (meaning the business that actually employs the developers who code the software)

Microsoft (abbreviated as MS) is an American multinational technology company headquartered in Redmond, Washington, that develops, manufactures, licenses, supports and sells computer software, consumer electronics and personal.


Also here for another example of the term in use:

Since its foundation in 2001 community4you AG has established itself as a successful global software manufacturer for the marketing, development and implementation of future-proof enterprise software.


Sometimes it is not the manufacturer of the software that provides support, but the vendor (the person selling it) , in that case if you wanted to distinguish this case you could use vendor, despite not thinking this is a usual term here, it is actually frequently used in the context you specified, providing the support is provided from the company that supplied the software. With large software companies, they distribute through vendors and often not directly, e.g.:

How to Choose the Right Software Vendor

... 5. Check for hidden or additional fees. "Look for hidden costs in the contract, such as additional fees for in-person training, document management services, setup or annual maintenance fees in addition to the monthly support costs,"

So you could use:

"Older operating systems, such as Windows XP and MacOSX 10.8, have several security weaknesses because they are no longer supported by their manufacturers"


"Older operating systems, such as Windows XP and MacOSX 10.8, have several security weaknesses because they are no longer supported by their vendors"

Depending on who is supporting the software.

  • Would "copyright holder" ever be the correct phrase?
    – Evan
    May 13, 2017 at 1:33

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