Not a joke – IBM named market share leader by Gartner in 8 out of 11 categories

I thought I wont post any articles on April’s Fools Day, but this one is too good to pass up, and sorry, this is not a joke and is not even funny. According to the latest Gartner report and related IBM press release:

QUOTE: “… IBM has once again been named the worldwide market share leader, marking 13 consecutive years of sustained leadership. The rankings are based on total worldwide revenue for 2013. According to the Gartner report, “All Software Markets, Worldwide, 2013”  report names IBM as the leader in application infrastructure and middleware software with 30 percent market share, nearly double that of its closest competitor. The worldwide application infrastructure and middleware software market grew 5.6 percent to $21.5 billion, according to Gartner…

… Within the application infrastructure and middleware portfolio, IBM was once again named the number one vendor in Business Process Management Suite (BPMS) software with 29 percent share, more than triple that of its closest competitor…

… Gartner also reported that IBM remains number one in other noteworthy segments such as Message Oriented Middleware (MOM), a key enabler for mobile computing, with 67 percent share, almost 10 times its closest competitor…

… IBM leads in eight out of the 11 application infrastructure and middleware markets…

… IBM is also the leader in Business-to-Business (B2B) Middleware, which drives better collaboration among partners and clients, and Managed File Transfer Suites, a new segment tracked in this report, for secure, reliable delivery of data between people, process and systems…” END QUOTE

Why does market share matter? For one thing, Gartner used total worldwide revenue to measure the market share. I have seen IBM competitors using all kinds of creative metrics to promote their “leadership” based on number of downloads, number of page views on company website, number of job postings, books on Amazon, etc. While these numbers are interesting to look at, they do not pay the bills for those who are building and selling the software. Last time I checked, Red Hat, VMware, Oracle, Microsoft were all commercial companies and as such are in the business of generating revenue. The more revenue one gets from the sales, the more can be reinvested back into R&D, support, marketing, thus enhancing vendor capability to innovate and providing for investment protection to its customers. This is not to say that from time to time there are disruptive forces that topple established players, but again, IBM has held #1 market share in middleware for the past 13 years. Not a bad track record!

Next time your vendor tries to sell you its wares, ask about the revenue they get from the product, their market share and how much they can afford to invest back into R&D. After all, to stay competitive in today’s fast moving market one has to do a lot of R&D.

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2 replies

  1. When you charge big money for licenses it makes it easier to gain market share as measured by revenue. Fortunately paying big license fees for access to software appears to be a dying trend.


    • If you do not make any significant money off of your software (which I believe is the case with JBoss), how do you pay for the R&D? This explains why the product has stagnated in the past few years. Why not be honest – “vendors” are in this business for money and Red Hat model does not seem to be working well with JBoss. Otherwise Red Hat would have disclosed the revenue numbers.


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