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Perhaps it should not come as much of a surprise that Microsoft would win here considering its focus on the category, but given all the hype surrounding open-source platforms, it is worth noting how handily Microsoft took the top spot with a score of 5.2 compared with second place finisher IBM’s score of 3.5. Microsoft won the day among solution providers with very strong ratings for profit potential.
(Click here to view the reader survey data for application development tools.)

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Microsoft also won this category, again thanks to getting a high percentage of voters rating Vista’s profit potential highly. But the race was close because Vista’s aftermarket opportunity is perceived to not be that strong. VMware’s showing here was strong, even with somewhat shaky levels of familiarity in the channel, and other players stacked up pretty well—no doubt making Microsoft anti-trust lawyers happy to see more competition in the client space. But if you’re a Microsoft product manager, you have to wonder just how much Vista appeal there is in the channel when companies with little to no real presence in the channel can score so well.
(Click here to view the reader survey data for client operating systems.)


Sheer brand recognition plays a part in any market survey, but in this case Microsoft was carried to the strongest victory in any category by the solution providers, who overwhelmingly said they were familiar with Office 2007 and saw profit potential in its resale much more than any competitor, as well as plenty of opportunity for additional sales of related services.
(Click here to view the reader survey data for collaboration software.)


Microsoft fended off a challenge from Oracle by getting a boost from solution providers very familiar with SQL Server 2005 Compact Edition. But Oracle and, to a lesser extent, MySQL had strong scores across the board that could have won in another less-contested category. That shows once again that while Microsoft has a strong following among solution providers with a high affinity for the category, the company’s overall dominance of the channel in key product categories is definitely seeing some significant slippage.
(Click here to view the reader survey data for databases.)


After taking a lot of heat in the channel over the last three years, Hewlett-Packard seems to be able to count on its friends there to hand it a solid victory over Lenovo and Acer. It can thank its strong channel presence for that; but given the closeness of its rivals’ ratings for profit potential and aftermarket opportunity, the folks at HP may want to wonder if there are a lot of solution providers still smarting over HP’s efforts to demand their loyalty.
(Click here to view the reader survey data for desktop PCs.)


In a category where Veritas established a significant market presence prior to being acquired by Symantec, it’s not too surprising to see Symantec win this category. But in a note to itself, Symantec should see how close the ratings were in this category, especially in familiarity, where CA and Hewlett-Packard both showed strength. But thanks to strong ratings for profit potential and aftermarket sales opportunity, Symantec managed to eke out a small victory.
(Click here to view the reader survey data for disaster recovery/backup products.)


Hewlett-Packard has always enjoyed a loyal following among storage solution providers in the channel, which accounts in part for why it scored so well over rivals IBM, NetApp and EMC. But StorageWorks looked very strong in key profit and opportunity measures as well, so HP may be especially grateful for this victory in a category where it only just recently began to recover from a bruising market-share battle.
(Click here to view the reader survey data for disk storage products.)


As one of the most fiercely contested categories in the channel, display vendors don’t tend to pull any punches, so it should come as no surprise to see Viewsonic, the winner in this category, pull off a narrow win over Samsung and NEC almost completely based on its strong channel presence and resultant high familiarity levels among solution providers. For Viewsonic, the win over Samsung is especially significant given the traditional rivalry between these two Southern California organizations.
(Click here to view the reader survey data for displays.)


This is one category where a few years ago the winner—SAP—would never have had any chance of winning. But several years of hard work developing a more proactive approach to the channel seem to be finally paying off with a narrow win over Oracle and a definitive win over Microsoft.
(Click here to view the reader survey data for ERP suites.)


This is one of the few wins this year for Big Blue, which seems to have lost some of its luster in the U.S. channel as of late as the company spends more energy on international opportunities. Perhaps even more unsettling to IBM is how close both BEA and Oracle were in most ratings but, thanks to a very strong belief in the aftermarket opportunities with WebSphere, IBM prevailed.
(Click here to view the reader survey data for middleware products.)


Hewlett-Packard has long dominated the printer space, but with the advent of MFPs it’s a whole new ballgame. In terms of overall score, HP turned in a decent performance, but clearly its major competitors are breathing down its neck, as Xerox and Lexmark showed very strong channel presence and close ratings elsewhere—very close in the case of Xerox’s reselling profit potential to solution providers.
(Click here to view the reader survey data for multifunction peripherals.)


Cisco owns this category in terms of market share and, thanks to the votes of solution providers familiar with its products, Cisco won handily. But Linksys, a business unit of Cisco, showed strength across the board, and 3Com also had good channel presence. Interestingly, it seems that less than stellar enthusiasm is what lost it for Linksys, as solution providers were less willing to rate its Gigabit switch very strongly in either profit potential or opportunity for further sales, by comparison to Cisco.
(Click here to view the reader survey data for network infrastructure products.)


This is the one category that resulted in a dead heat tie in terms of overall score, with Symantec and Cisco sharing the top honors. For Cisco, this win represents the culmination of years of effort to become a major player in this space, while for Symantec it may be troubling to find itself sharing top honors in a product category it usually expects to win. Cisco’s lower familiarity levels were strongly outweighed by its strong ratings in profit and aftermarket potential, and Symantec did little better than even No. 3 Microsoft in either area. (Click here to view the reader survey data for network security software.)


Everybody likes to beat up on Lenovo for perceived missteps in terms of taking over the venerable ThinkPad franchise from IBM. But despite those miscues, Lenovo managed to narrowly win the category, even though both Hewlett-Packard and Toshiba looked as good or better in most measures. The only real conclusion that can be made here is that the notebook category is a dead heat in the channel, with Lenovo still benefiting from the engineering legacy of the ThinkPad development team.
(Click here to view the reader survey data for notebooks.)


APC has long dominated this category, so it’s not much of a surprise to see APC win, thanks to the votes of solution providers who say they are very familiar with the category. But in terms of channel presence, the folks at APC may want to put themselves on notice because Tripp Lite showed itself extremely well-known among solution providers, and not far behind in sales opportunity for associated services. Plus, IBM is not far behind by any measure. This category is still anybody’s game to win. (Click here to view the reader survey data for power management products.)


While other output device categories may be seeing a resurgence in competition, it doesn’t look like there are any serious challenges to Hewlett-Packard’s dominance of the printer category in the channel as it wins handily over Xerox and Lexmark, both of which did better in the ratings than most people might have expected, given HP’s market share. (Click here to view the reader survey data for printers.)


Given the number of players in this category, it’s hard to say that there is a clear winner, but once the dust settles it looks like Cisco carried the day even though no fewer than five other players, including RSA (now a unit of EMC), McAfee, SonicWall, Symantec and SurfControl managed to show strong presences in a very crowded field. But among the solution providers that said they were very familiar with its products, Cisco carried a lot more weight than Sonic or RSA.
(Click here to view the reader survey data for security appliances.)


Scoring was relatively close in a category that Symantec could expect to easily dominate. Though Symantec scored well in almost every respect, thanks to the high number of solution providers familiar with and finding potential and opportunity in SiteAdvisor Plus, McAfee’s results suggest that Symantec could be vulnerable to losing some of its security shine in the channel. (Click here to view the reader survey data for security client software.)


In this category Symantec racked up another security win but similarly with far less dominance than might be expected, and closer scoring than in security client software. In fact, both McAfee and SonicWall did well thanks to solution providers’ strong familiarity with their products, and Symantec’s softness in perception of profit potential and opportunity for associated selling surrounding Mail Security for SMTP 5.0. (Click here to view the reader survey data for security server software.)


Hewlett-Packard has some real fans in the channel for its G5 Server offering, scoring very strongly in sales ratings against IBM, which had a channel presence nearly as strong. For HP, a win here reaffirms its dominance of the overall server category in spite of IBM’s pioneering blade center efforts. (Click here to view the reader survey data for server infrastructure products.)


With no qualifying product in this category from Microsoft, the field was clear for VMware and Novell, which tied for top honors, though Red Hat came in a close third place. The real test in this category may come in 2007 or 2008 depending on whether Microsoft actually ships the next Longhorn upgrade for Windows Server. In the meantime, open-source products made a strong showing that should put the folks in Redmond on notice about how much momentum open source has in the channel. (Click here to view the reader survey data for server operating systems.)


As a relatively nascent technology, the channel is still trying to find its role within this computing model. But it’s clear that despite all the hype surrounding companies such as, the channel sees a lot of diversity among vendors offering services that can be resold by the channel. But while Adobe, and Oracle all showed familiarity with their products in the channel that was as good or better, it was McAfee that managed to win the overall category be a nose thanks to solution providers seeing real promise in aftermarket and associated sales based on Total Protection.
(Click here to view the reader survey data for SAAS offerings.)


This is another category where Hewlett-Packard once dominated but lost some ground in recent years. Now apparently back on top, HP won handily in terms of overall score—but second place was pretty much a battle royal between Diskeeper, Quantum, Symantec, IBM, EMC and NetApp, each of which showed its own strengths in channel presence, profit potential or the aftermarket. Microsoft curiously lags here. (Click here to view the reader survey data for storage management software products.)


It might surprise some that Microsoft emerged triumphant in this category. But voting was close, and no vendor in this category is really winning the hearts and minds of the channel, which is especially true when you look at how low scoring was here by comparison to the other categories. (Click here to view the reader survey data for system and network management products.)


Another win for Cisco in terms of overall score, but once again we see pretty close competition, suggesting that Cisco may not have as easy a time dominating this space as it did network infrastructure. Each of the top four, Cisco, Linksys, 3Com and Avaya, shows particular strengths, whether channel awareness or perception of sales possibilities, making this a race to watch. (Click here to view the reader survey data for VOIP offerings.)


Linksys won this category on the basis of optimistic sales expectations from solutions providers, though interestingly the greater enthusiasm for Cisco in these same measures, while not enough to propel Cisco into first place, does highlight the growing conflict in the channel between Linksys and its parent company. (Click here to view the reader survey data for wireless network products.)