It was almost the year of the upset. After years of walkovers, Novell NetWare just managed to retain its title as Best Network Operating System at this year's PC World Awards at Auckland's Sheraton. Forty-eight per cent of PC World readers voted for the Novell NOS, which narrowly beat Microsoft NT Server with 45%. Last year Novell breezed in with 67% compared to NT Server's 25%.
New categories in this year's awards spiced up the results. Lotus Notes with 69% of the vote overwhelmingly won the new category of groupware application. The only other nominee was Novell Groupwise with 13%.
Another change for '96 was the expansion of the PC Awards into four categories: home desktop PC, business desktop PC, server and notebook.
The ever-popular PC Direct maintained its status on the home and business desktop winning both categories with 43% and 25% respectively. Compaq came second with business users at 15% and Digital third with 11%. PC Direct, however, didn't figure in the best server category, was won by the Compaq Proliant series (45%), followed by Digital’s Prioris series (19%) and Hewlett-Packard’s Net Server series (5%). Voting for the best notebook was close with the Toshiba Satellite Pro series in first place (16%), followed by IBM's Thinkpad 760 (12%) and Compaq's Armada 4100 (10%). Dell Computer won the best newcomer in hardware with the Dell Optiplex Desktop PC (10%).
Microsoft easily took out the big four desktop application categories winning best word processor with MS Word (85%), best database with Access (75%), best spreadsheet with Excel (88%) and best application suite (87%).
Netscape Navigator continues to reign as best Web browser with 77% of the vote, up from 62% last year. Microsoft Internet Explorer lagged with 20% but came from nowhere in 1995 and did take out the best newcomer (software) category. Microsoft also managed to win the new category of best Web Server with Internet Information Server (47%), although Netscape products took out the remaining vote between them--Netscape Enterprise Server (42%) and Netscape Commerce Server (11%). Microsoft Frontpage won best web authoring software (39%) followed by Aussie start-up Sausage Software's Hotdog with 20%.
Last year's best Internet service providers, Compuserve and Iconz, lost out this year to newcomers Telecom Xtra (23%) and Voyager (16%). The Internet Group (IHUG) came in third with 11%. Telecom Xtra also won the inaugural award for best New Zealand Web Site (27%), The Christchurch Press was second (5%) and Television New Zealand’s home page came third (2%).