Microsoft remains top software vendor as cloud increases its influence

The International Data Center (IDC) has released a report which reveals that Microsoft remains the largest software vendor globally through 2012 revenues and overall market share.

Figures from the Worldwide Semiannual Software Tracker put the Washington-based tech giant at a 17.1% market share, lower than its 2011 figure of 17.4% but still nearly twice as far ahead as its nearest competitors, IBM and Oracle.

IBM has an 8.5% market share, compared to Oracle’s 8.1%, with SAP and Symantec comprising the top five.

Elsewhere, the report provided further evidence that cloud computing is at the epicentre of enterprise growth.

For many cloud-based segments, including data access, CRM applications and security software, their growth rate was double the rate for enterprise software overall.

Yet the overall growth in the software market for 2012 was at 3.6%, less than half the overall growth of 2010 and 2011.

 “The management and leveraging of information for competitive advantage is driving growth in markets associated with Big Data and analytics,” explained Henry D. Morris, IDC senior vice president in a statement.

“Similarly, rapid growth in cloud deployments is fuelling growth in application areas associated with social business and customer experience.

“Both these initiatives require a reliable and secure infrastructure, driving investments in security and system/network management.”

Sound familiar? Well Gartner said last month that cloud and CRM were the principal drivers in enterprise software spend, with CRM shifting ahead of ERP in budgetary terms.

Understandably, the key reason for growth in CRM was due to cloud migration, yet for the sphere of collaborative applications, IDC put it down to the spiralling enterprise social software market – up 24.8% year over year.

Microsoft has been making cloudy waves of late with the release of Windows Azure Infrastructure Services, designed to be priced the same as Amazon’s portfolio in order to provide both price and performance. Amazon, in contrast, revealed last week that its S3 cloud had three trillion objects – 20 for every person ever born on Earth.

SAP, meanwhile, posted results of 17% net profit increase last week with co-CEO Bill McDermott telling the Associated Press that its cloud computing arm was starting to make money and tide things over.

This research from IDC of course doesn’t factor arguably the biggest player in the game – especially at SaaS level – Salesforce.com. But where are the key battlegrounds going to be for cloud software vendors, and who will ultimately emerge victorious?

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