Microsoft Gains in Web Server Market

Microsoft said Thursday that third-party data indicates the Windows server platform continues to grow at the expense of Apache and Linux. According to Web hosting research company Netcraft, Windows hostnames grew by 4.5 million, while Apache/Linux lost 429,000.

Percentage-wise, that equals a 29.7 percent market share for Windows, and a gain of 4.25 percent for the month. Meanwhile, Apache/Linux fell 3.5 percent to 61.25 percent in May. Furthermore, Web sites based on Windows Server 2003 have seen a 176 percent growth since April of last year, according to Microsoft research.

John Zanni, Microsoft's director of shared hosting market development, told BetaNews in an interview that the gains could be attributed to several factors. First off, the company is offering versions of both SQL Server and Visual Studio for free.


Second, Microsoft is making improvements to its core server products, which in turn is making the company's software more attractive as a Web platform. "We're working with providers to create richer offerings," he said.

Zanni says the success can also be attributed to a change in Microsoft's business strategy. Nearly a decade after ASP first hit the market, the concept of software as a service is finally catching on with Web developers.

"People are looking for richer functionality than in the past," he says, explaining that is one of Microsoft's strengths. Thus it has resulted in a migration by some developers to the Redmond company's technologies, and also is shown in the 46 percent increase in ASP.NET sites since July of last year.

Also, Microsoft's sheer size assists it in being more mobile than Linux in addressing customer needs. Zanni said the company has its entire product line at its disposal, which allows it to look for new ways for products to work within the software as a service model, giving it an advantage.

When asked what the company's goals were for share of the market, Zanni responded that increased market share was not necessarily the target of Microsoft's moves in the space. "Our goal is to enable people to be successful using software as a service," he added. "Our rising share shows that."

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