IDC Research Reveals Increase In Unclaimed Web Mindshare; Microsoft Stalls, IBM Surges, Customers Balk

FRAMINGHAM, Mass., April 13, 1998 — Which Internet supplier are customers betting on? According to a recent survey from International Data Corporation, more and more customers were unsure which Internet vendor is most important to their companies' use or the Web. IDC believes the constant market static between Microsoft and the "NOIS" (Netscape, Oracle, IBM, and Sun) group of Microsoft rivals, as well as Netscape's decline as an Internet leader, were likely contributing factors.

"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."

One year ago, IDC presented the Web mindshare results from IDC's 1997 Global IT (GIT) Survey with the results of its 1996 Global IT Survey. "The clearest message from last year's data and analysis appeared to be Microsoft's domination of yet another market space," said Gens. However, IDC's 1998 GIT Survey data reveals customers minds –and IT supplier Web mindshare — has shifted with Microsoft's surge stalling. "Microsoft’s Web mindshare skyrocketed two years ago when the company embraced open Internet standards and proselytized about the customer benefits of the Internet. Its mindshare hit the wall in this last year as the company appeared more proprietary," said Gens.

Web Mindshare For Selected IT Suppliers: 1998 Versus 1997 (%)

What is the one IT company that will be strategically most important to the success of your company's Web-based business projects?

Response 1998 1997

None/don’t know 45.8 39.1

Microsoft 24.2 25.6

Netscape 2.7 9.6

IBM 9.9 3.1

Oracle 0.9 1.7

Sun 1.0 0.5

From IDC’s Global IT (GIT) Surveys, U.S. respondents, sites with >500 employees

Data = percent of respondents naming supplier (unaided responses)

1998 N = 270, 1997 N = 421

GIT 1998 fielded in 4Q97, GIT 1997 fielded in 4Q96

Another startling finding from IDC's 1998 GIT Survey was the tripling of IBM's Web mindshare which vaulted the company into second place. Its focus on the Internet and eBusiness has yielded dividends and has enabled the company to maintain an "above-the-fray" image with customers.

Netscape's Web mindshare tumbled 70 percent from the prior year, the IDC survey found, putting more pressure on the company to make bold moves to recover its image as an Internet powerhouse. "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."

Sun and Oracle continue to have low Web mindshare numbers among IS executives — particularly surprising for Sun, a seminal Internet supplier. IDC believes an Oracle/Netscape marriage would go a long way to improve both suppliers’ Web mindshare.

IDC Web Mindshare Monitor: Microsoft Stalls, IBM Surges, Customers Balk is part of IDC's monthly Executive Insights series authored by Gens. The full text of his article is available at

About Internet@IDC

International Data Corporation is the industry's leading Internet research resource with more than 40 full-time and 150 contributing analysts in 36 countries covering more than 20 expertise areas within the Internet field. This group — possibly the largest Internet market research practice anywhere — is known as Internet@IDC.

Internet@IDC delivers industry-leading Internet research and analysis. Designed to cut through the Internet "hype" and bring the market into sharp focus, Internet@IDC is built upon the same value proposition as IDC's other services: extensive primary research with a uniquely global perspective combined with thoughtful analysis to produce credible and often startling forecasts.

About IDC

Headquartered in Framingham, Mass., International Data Corporation provides IT market research and consulting to more than 3,900 high-technology customers around the world. With a global network of 375 analysts in more than 40 countries, IDC is the industry’s most comprehensive resource on worldwide IT markets, products, vendors, and geographies.

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