Redmond View

Microsoft a Contender In The New IT Order

As Microsoft watches Apple and Google eat away at its OS market share, it's clear the company's dominance is gone. No matter how much ground it makes up with its new Windows Store app model and Windows 8, Microsoft is no longer the sole choice. The new multiplatform world gives users more options and is shifting Microsoft and its partners in new directions.

Sharing a market it doesn't own is nothing new to Microsoft. For instance, there was a time not long ago when Microsoft was an up-and-comer in the datacenter. Despite owning a nice piece of the IT infrastructure market these days, Microsoft has never dominated there.

When Windows NT first arrived, Unix and proprietary host platforms were the infrastructure of choice. Just as Windows 2000 became a viable alternative to Unix, Linux came along with a server alternative. Linux still predominates today in the Web server market, although not the enterprise server market. Today Windows Server, Active Directory, Exchange, SharePoint and SQL Server have a strong corporate foothold, further supported by third-party solution providers.

Throughout the years, there have been constant changes of the guard in all aspects of IT. The one taking place now is affecting almost every established player in the IT world. As Microsoft brings on a new leader, powerhouses like Cisco, Dell, HP and Oracle all face new realities of their own that will make growth more difficult for these behemoths to achieve in this rapidly changing IT industry.

I hear plenty of critiques about Microsoft -- many are valid. The company may never be known for getting to market first. It seems to have failed to react quickly enough to the mobile client shift. Despite all of this, however, 75 percent of you are either very optimistic or cautiously optimistic about Microsoft at this juncture. That doesn't guarantee Microsoft anything, but it seems promising.

The good news is Microsoft is on a transformative path. Despite its gaffes, the company still remains well positioned as a contender in setting the IT agenda for the near future.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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