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Given the dominance of certain vendors in the channel, it’s no surprise that the winners of the 2006 eWEEK Channel Products of the Year are some of the best-known companies that have deep roots in the channel.

What is surprising is how close the race was between the products entered into 26 different categories. That might suggest that the level of competition between vendor products in the channel is pretty high these days, but a look deeper into the numbers finds an interesting trend: The more familiar solution providers were with a product, the less impact they felt that product would have on the market as a whole.

Click here for descriptions of the 26 product categories.

Nevertheless, many solution providers still tended to vote with their wallets. In fact, if it were not for the loyalty of solution provider partners that still see high profit potential in its products, Microsoft would not have been able to carry the day in five separate categories.