Microsoft might be making inroads into the enterprise market but its biggest software rival, IBM, isn’t fretting about it.
The head of IBM’s Australia and New Zealand software business, Steve McWhirter, barely acknowledges Microsoft when he lists Big Blue’s main opponents.
“On a competitive front we don’t tend to come across Microsoft that much,” says McWhirter.
McWhirter says IBM’s software business has four main parts — DB2 database, Tivoli systems management, WebSphere web application servers and Lotes Notes collaboration software. Microsoft rates a mention as the main competitor in just one of those market segments, the collaboration software market, in which Exchange is pitted against Notes.
Even in that market, however, McWhirter doesn’t accept it’s a struggle between equals, describing Exchange as merely an email application.
“I don’t mean to malign Exchange in any way — it’s a good product — but calling Notes an email client is like calling a Mercedes a car; it’s much more than that.”
According to market analyst IDC, Exchange is snapping at Notes’ heels, with 34% market share to Notes’ 39%. But McWhirter says IBM has 50% of the market in this region compared to Microsoft’s 33%.
In the database, systems management and web server markets, Oracle, Computer Associates and BEA are the rivals McWhirter sees as most significant.
He’s also dismissive of Microsoft’s .Net web services moves, first detailed about 14 months ago, which he describes as coming after IBM’s own web services announcement.
“What we have laid out for web services is good, there now and uses existing standards.”
According to the IDG News Service, IBM released a web services toolkit for developers last November; Microsoft released a second beta of its web services development tool, Visual Studio.Net, in June.