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July 11, 1993

SHARP DIFFERENCES IN THE MARKET RESEARCH WORLD ON WHETHER THERE IS A BIG MARKET FOR NT SERVERS

By CBR Staff Writer

The debate on whether Unix or Microsoft Corp’s Windows NT will triumph as the server operating system of the future is in full flood. According to Computerwoche, the Business Research Group is backing Microsoft, while InfoCorp reckons that by 1997, Unix will claim the lion’s share of the market. The Business Research Group bases its belief on a survey it undertook with the US’s 500 largest firms. Some 59% of those questioned said they not only wanted to buy NT, they also wanted to use it. Only 39% plumped for Unix, and a further 36% for IBM Corp’s OS/2. But, analysts’ claim, if NT doesn’t simply want to be a nine-day wonder, Microsoft must prove it can be put to practical use. And a critical factor in its success, they say, will be whether it can be integrated with mainframes in the data processing environment. Customers wanting to downsize need a system that can work with mission-critical applications without any problems. Unfortunately, Microsoft doesn’t have any experience in this arena. On the flip side, mid-range systems programme director at InfoCorp, Robert Sakakeeny, says If customers consider that the most important reason for buying NT is the range of Windows applications available, then it is Unix that will succeed, not the Microsoft operating system. As a result, he doesn’t believe that NT will command much more than 12% of the server market by 1997, compared with a 62% share for Unix. This is, he says, is because Windows applications can easily be integrated with both NetWare and Unix as front-end systems. So, there is no reason for users to want to upgrade to NT. Still, over time, he reckons that NT will increase market share – not because of Unix pricing however, but because of proprietary operating systems, such as IBM Corp’s OS/2.

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