Product Categories and Descriptions

2006 eWEEK Channel Products of the Year: Descriptions of the 26 product categories.


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 IBMs 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.)


Microsoft also won this category, again thanks to getting a high percentage of voters rating Vistas profit potential highly. But the race was close because Vistas aftermarket opportunity is perceived to not be that strong. VMwares 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 youre 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 companys 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 HPs 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, its 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.)