The battle for hearts

By Eric Lundquist  |  Posted 2003-12-22 Print this article Print

and minds in the corporate technology infrastructure increased in intensity in 2003"> The battle for hearts and minds in the corporate technology infrastructure increased in intensity in 2003. Sun suffered slings and arrows from the open-source and Microsoft forces. The open-source crowd claimed you could get Sun performance and scale at a much lower cost, and Microsoft made the same claim. By the end of the year, Sun seemed to find solid footing by claiming open-source pricing, Sun dependability and freedom to range outside of the Microsoft environs. IBM made great gains by leveraging its service and middleware business as an answer to infrastructure woes. Companies such as Salesforce. com and NetSuite led the way in proving Web-based applications really work.

For Microsoft, the technology slowdown was no more than a bump in the road. Of larger concern was the need to persuade customers to invest in a new round of server-based products while building interest in the next big operating system, "Longhorn." The advantages being touted for the next version of Office have shifted from personal productivity to group productivity. The advantages of Longhorn sound a lot like a return to the fat-client arguments of a better file system, superior user experience and improved security.

In open source, the question shifted from whether the technology is sufficiently robust to meet corporate requirements—it is—to whether the code is legal. As 2003 closes, the question of legality remains undecided in the courtroom.

In 2003, the story of wireless networks took a significant turn. No longer was it a question of whether it was possible to build a secure, reliable wireless network. The question instead became, Which wireless network do you choose? The value of standards was in strong evidence as the flavors of 802.11 were moved from standards to products at a rapid pace. In 2003, hot spots popped up everywhere from McDonalds to Starbucks. The wireless always-on network became available for $50 a month or less.

2003 will be remembered as the year when the stage was set to deliver on the promise of dependable, scalable and widespread corporate technology. With the economy rebounding, a significant measure of that promise may be realized next year.

Editor in Chief Eric Lundquists e-mail address is

Since 1996, Eric Lundquist has been Editor in Chief of eWEEK, which includes domestic, international and online editions. As eWEEK's EIC, Lundquist oversees a staff of nearly 40 editors, reporters and Labs analysts covering product, services and companies in the high-technology community. He is a frequent speaker at industry gatherings and user events and sits on numerous advisory boards. Eric writes the popular weekly column, 'Up Front,' and he is a confidant of eWEEK's Spencer F. Katt gossip columnist.

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