Greater Reliability Driving Customers to Choose Microsoft Windows Server Over UNIX and Linux

REDMOND, Wash. — March 23, 2006 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that leading customers such as Altera Corp., Rayovac/Spectrum Brands Inc. and CompUSA cited the reliability provided by the Windows Server™ platform as helping drive their decision to choose Microsoft® Windows® over UNIX systems. Microsoft also outlined joint investments in a worldwide UNIX migration customer campaign to help educate and assist customers when they move from UNIX to Windows Server with 64-bit Intel processors.

Underscoring this trend, Microsoft also highlighted recent data from IDC Research showing that on a unit basis, Windows Server is the most popular new platform for customers migrating from legacy UNIX systems. The study found that when customers migrated from their existing UNIX platforms, 45 percent of the newly deployed units were Windows Server platforms, compared with 37 percent for Linux and 16 percent for other UNIX variants.

“According to IDC, the UNIX market is not defaulting to Linux. In fact, Windows Server is the No. 1 platform targeted by UNIX customers,” said Ryan Gavin, director of platform strategy at Microsoft. “One area for which Linux gained traction with UNIX migration customers is custom application workloads. However, with the inclusion of the new Subsystem for UNIX-based Applications in the Windows Server 2003 R2 release, customers can now seamlessly move their custom UNIX applications to Windows and also gain access to the wealth of commercial ISV applications available for Windows Server. We expect the migration trend to Windows Server to accelerate.”

Understanding UNIX Migration: A Demand-Side View

Based on IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker for 2005, Windows Server revenues were $17.7 billion. For the first time, the Windows Server segment exceeded spending for UNIX servers as customers deployed more fully configured Windows-based servers to support IT consolidation and more scalable workloads. IDC recently surveyed customers about their operating system preferences for replacing aging UNIX servers. On a unit basis, Windows was well ahead of Linux as the leading platform for UNIX replacement, including for the migration of mission-critical workloads such as those for business processing and decision support. The full IDC report, “Understanding UNIX Migration: A Demand-Side View” (IDC No. 34816, January 2006), will be available online at 8 a.m. PST on March 23 at

“Overall, the size of the UNIX installed base appears to be flattening because of slowing unit volume growth and recent migration efforts within the worldwide UNIX installed base,” said Matt Eastwood, vice president of IDC Research. “On a unit basis, Windows becomes the top migration platform overall, with 45 percent of these migrating footprints; however, IDC notes that Linux and other UNIX platforms also benefit as a result of these migration projects.”

Investing in Partners, Tools and Resources to Streamline UNIX Migration

During the second half of 2005, Microsoft and Intel Corporation completed a 15-city UNIX migration road show to help more than 550 IT decision-makers understand the benefits of migrating from UNIX to Windows Server on Intel 64-bit systems. In addition, Microsoft and Intel assisted migrations from UNIX to Windows Server on 64-bit Intel-based platforms through proof-of-concept projects. Many UNIX customers are moving from 64-bit RISC systems and therefore expect 64-bit scalability and reliability capabilities when they migrate to a new platform. Microsoft has made major investments to ensure that solutions are available for 64-bit Windows Server platforms. For example, Windows Server 2003 is available for both x64 and Itanium platforms. SQL Server™ 2005 and Visual Studio® 2005 are both available for 64-bit systems, and the next version of Exchange Server will be available only on 64-bit versions of Windows Server.

“What really differentiates an Intel platform running Windows Server 2003 is what users get beyond what RISC UNIX can provide,” said Boyd Davis, general manager of Server Platforms Group Marketing at Intel. “Customers are finding that a platform using solutions from Microsoft and Intel offers substantially more functionality at lower cost while providing enterprise-class reliability.”

“By choosing Windows over Linux for our new SAP solution, we’ll save an estimated $1 million in costs over the first four years,” said Rick Dempsey, chief information officer at Rayovac/Spectrum Brands. “We needed performance, security and reliability at a reasonable price, and Linux would have presented greater risk in all those areas. I need a proven IT environment that I’m sure we can support.” 

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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