Introducing Ilium Software

Today you will find thousands of individuals and companies that are selling programs for mobile devices like the iPhone, Android, Blackberry, and Windows Mobile phone. My guess is that perhaps 2% of those companies have been in business for more than two years, and fewer have existed for more than five years. Ilium Software is therefore one of the rarest of companies by being in the mobile software business for more than 12 years, and it is therefore in a unique position of having grown with the mobile industry to assess the current state of the industry.

This week Microsoft will unveil more details about Windows Phone 7 series, and because we know that current Windows Mobile programs will not run on Windows Phone 7, I consider it a new platform. By my count, Windows Phone 7 will be the sixth of the mobile platform crowd. With that many platforms, it must be a challenge for companies like Ilium Software to determine for which platforms they will sell their programs. Do they try to sell versions for everyone, or sell to only a few, if it if is only a few, how do they decide which ones?

To get an idea of the challenges that mobile software developers face, I interviewed Ellen Craw, who is one of the founders of Ilium Software, via e-mail. Over the course of this week I will publish a series of posts from that interview, which I think provides some perspective on the mobile market as it currently stands.

The most widely known of Ilium Software’s programs is eWallet, which is a secure database for storing all sorts of information like web site passwords and account numbers. There are versions of eWallet for iPhone, Windows Mobile, Blackberry, Windows PC, and Macintosh. Ilium also sells two programs for Palm OS.

Tell us about Ilium Software’s history, how did the company get started, and what did it first develop?

We started the company in 1997, developing apps for what was then the first version of Windows CE. We released a few games and entertainment apps, but have always concentrated on information management

How large is Ilium Software today, specifically, how many developers do you have and how many support people do you have?

We are nine employees, most of us fulltime. Three are developers, and two do all of our tech support and customer service. We feel strongly that our products are better, and our support is much better, if we keep all of our support, and nearly all of our development inhouse rather than outsourcing them.