Is there a concise explanation of how software is treated in GDP calculations? It seems a bit complicated. I can only figure out part of the story:
For consumer purchases, I think all software spending shows up as final consumption, whether it's purchased shrinkwrapped software or whether it's access to a software-as-a-service (SaaS) website like TurboTax.
Business purchases confuse me more. In the US anyway, software is now counted as part of Private Fixed Investment. But I don't fully understand all the jargon, e.g. about "originals"/"copies"/"own-account"/etc.. Some of the main cases that need to be addressed seem to be: 1) software written purely for internal use, 2) software written by one company and sold to others, and 3) software-as-a-service (SaaS) tools like Salesforce.
Another wrinkle is open source software, or other types of software that are given away at no cost. Does that always count as $0 in GDP? Does the answer change depending on whether the open source project has a corporate sponsor or two that pay for much of the development work?
And what about updates to software -- Major releases? Minor releases? Bug fixes?