Survey: Microsoft Named Most Important Vendor to CIOs

Chief information officers named Microsoft their most indispensable "mega-vendor" in Piper Jaffray's quarterly CIO Survey released to its clients this week.

In the firm's survey of 135 CIOs, 61 (or 45 percent) picked Microsoft as their most important vendor. Microsoft had more than double the mentions of the No. 2 pick, Oracle. The companies following those two include (in order of ranking): SAP, Cisco, IBM, EMC, Hewlett-Packard and Apple. Only 10 percent or fewer picked the last four in that list, with only 4 percent choosing Apple.

While this is not the first time Microsoft has topped Piper Jaffray's list, the company widened its lead this year: 45 percent of surveyed CIOs gave Microsoft the thumbs-up, compared with 33 percent in 2012.

"CIOs state that 'there are really no alternatives to Microsoft,'" said the report. "[Others said] 'MS services are getting better and will allow us to move more to the cloud,' and 'we are highly invested in their technologies and dependent on them extending their platforms.'"

The report continued: "We believe Microsoft's dominance in the enterprise is underappreciated, and some of the threats against Microsoft, such as alternatives to the Windows desktop OS in the enterprise or productivity software, may be over-hyped in the near term. That said, keep in mind that our CIO survey does not address the large consumer business for Microsoft, which faces much more intense competitive pressures than its enterprise business."

In terms of what that means in actual spending, Microsoft is still first in market penetration, with 98.5 percent of respondents (all but two) reporting that they run the company's software. Coming in second was VMware (91.1 percent), followed by Symantec (78.5 percent), Oracle (76.3 percent), Citrix (71.9 percent) and IBM (64.4 percent).

Of those surveyed, 56 percent plan to maintain consistent spending with Microsoft, while 29 percent will increase the amount sent to Redmond by up to 10 percent. A smaller sample (7 percent) will increase spending with Microsoft by more than 10 percent, while only 5 percent said their Microsoft spending will decline by up to 10 percent.

Overall, that translates to spending growth for Microsoft of 2.1 percent, bested only by fast-growing cloud-based human capital management provider Workday (4.7 percent), VMware (3.7 percent) and ServiceNow, a cloud-based provider of IT management tools (2.9 percent).

While both Linux and Windows Server will show increased growth, Linux is on a higher trajectory, according to the survey. Last year, 36.7 percent expected Linux to grow in their organization, while this year 33.3 said it will grow. But while 34.9 percent expected Windows Server to grow, only 14.8 percent said it will this year. Not surprisingly, Unix and mainframe environments will decline more, but also a substantial footprint should remain unchanged.

A separate survey of software developers released this week by Evans Data also rated Microsoft highly. Microsoft still remains the most relevant company among two-thirds of the software developers Evans Data surveyed. However, No. 2 Google was seen as likely to dominate in three years, especially with younger developers under the age of 25.

"The developer landscape is shifting as developer demographics change," said Evans Data CEO Janel Garvin in a statement. "The age of software developers in North America has been trending younger since 2009, and as a new generation of developers comes on stage they bring new perceptions of the industry and its leaders."

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.