Small Businesses Turn Most Often to Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo! for Internet Resources, IDC Finds

FRAMINGHAM, MA – March 31, 2008 – As more and more small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are taking advantage of the Internet to improve internal efficiency and external reach, a number of technology providers have been refining their offerings to help them to get online, sell online, and market online, as well as manage and monitor online business activity. Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo! are the leading companies that SMBs turn to for Internet resources, with more variation in SMB preferences by vertical industry than by company size, a new IDC report finds. These technology providers are appealing to SMBs in different ways with different offerings.

Other findings from IDC SMB survey include the following:

* SMB use of different Internet resource providers varies significantly across different attitude clusters, with different providers having a different mix of SMB customers.

* SMBs that use Microsoft for Internet resources tend to be larger, while firms citing Yahoo! tend to be smaller.

* SMBs using Microsoft spend more on an average for Internet resources, but this is not necessarily because of their larger size. In contrast, firms that use AOL spent the least.

"The opportunity for providers of online capabilities to SMB companies worldwide will continue to grow in the years ahead, despite apparent industry consolidation," said Merle Sandler, research manager for IDC's SMB group. "Alliances and relationships will be increasingly important, moving forward, and industry players will have to continually enhance their value propositions."

The IDC study, SMB Internet Resource Users: Microsoft, Google, Yahoo!, and AOL Customer Profiles and Opportunities (Doc #211255) investigates which SMBs use different Internet resource providers, by both company size and vertical industry, and which resource providers are most likely to be used in the next 12 months. SMBs that use Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, and AOL are then compared across a number of dimensions, including company size, sales performance, IT spending, high-speed Internet access, and online sales and promotion.

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