RealTime IT News

Study Reveals Unclaimed Web Mindshare on the Rise

The ongoing Internet turf battle between Microsoft and its rivals has left customers dazed and confused when it comes to choosing an Internet vendor, according to a new survey.

Framingham, MA-based International Data Corp. (IDC) said its survey results showed IT buyers were unsure of who to pick when it comes to their company's technology and the Web.

IDC concluded that the rivalry between Microsoft and the "NOIS" group (Netscape, Oracle, IBM, and Sun), coupled with Netscape's recent slip in the market, contributed to customers confusion.

"IDC has tracked the 'Web mindshare' of leading IT suppliers for the past three years," said Frank Gens, IDC's senior vice president of research and director of Internet@IDC. "By Web mindshare we mean the percentage of IT buyers who name the supplier as most important to the success of the respondent's use of the Web. We consider Web mindshare a leading indicator of market share and market power in the next wave of industry growth."

By contrast, IDC's 1997 Global IT (GIT) Survey showed Microsoft as the main company flexing its market share muscle. "The clearest message from last year's data and analysis appeared to be Microsoft's domination of yet another market space," said Gens.

This year's results, however, reveal that the software giant has slipped up. "Microsoft's Web mindshare skyrocketed two years ago when the company embraced open Internet standards and proselytized about the customer benefits of the Internet," added Gens. "Its mindshare hit the wall in this last year as the company appeared more proprietary."

Nipping at Microsoft's heels in second place among IT suppliers is IBM, according to survey data. The company tripled its Web mindshare, largely as a result of customer perception that it steered clear of the "fray," concentrating intently on the Internet and eBusiness instead.

While Sun and Oracle show up last on the list of IT suppliers, the big loser appears to be Netscape; its survey Web mindshare fell a whopping 70% from last year.

"Leadership in Internet products used to be enough to win the game, but now customer confidence in the supplier's long-term viability is the ante to even get in the game," said Gens. "As we suggested in IDC Predictions '98, selecting a strong marriage partner is Netscape's best chance to avoid moving from leader to niche player."

For more information on the Web mindshare study, visit IDC's Web site.