NEWS ANALYSIS -- Psst: .NET's far ahead of rivals
- By Gary Barnett
I know I'm about to offend some people in the next 90 seconds or so. But
sometimes the truth can be uncomfortable.
Microsoft’s .NET technology is at least six months ahead of its rivals. It’s
more complete, more ready and more widely deployed than any of its Web services
framework competitors. There is no J2EE application server product, or
''platform family'' even close to the breadth of .NET’s usable ''developers
desktop'' functionality. Even worse--there are more real Web services
applications in production built on .NET than on any alternative platform. The
.NET platform is ahead in tooling, middleware services, integration services and
process management services.
Naturally I don't expect you to take my word for it. So here's a test. Phone
up Microsoft and ask for .NET. They'll ship it to you. If you splash out on MSDN
you'll get the OS, tools, database, the process engine and a host of other
goodies (including about a gig of searchable documentation and examples) in one
box, on a handful of DVDs within 72 hours. Now phone a competitor. Go on--I dare
You'll find that only one vendor--IBM--is even close.
There, I've said it. I'm not happy with this situation. While I don't
subscribe to the rather sad ''Microsoft is bad, anything else is good'' mantra
of some, I do believe that technology buyers deserve and need a choice.
Suppliers claiming to be ahead of .NET are either deceiving you or deceiving
The challenge for Microsoft is to maintain the uphill ''mindshare'' battle
like it did back in 2000 when COM+ was released. At the time, COM+ offered the
richest, most integrated suite of middleware services ever seen, but no one was
willing to believe Microsoft. The same is true with .NET today. Microsoft
''brand'' issues mean that when Java-supporting CEO X gets up on stage and
claims (falsely as mentioned above) that ''We're way ahead of Dot-Net'' a round
of applause is guaranteed.
Microsoft's challenge is to take the hard road of brand rebuilding, to chip
away at the fallacious objections one by one until the time when rational
comparison becomes politically acceptable again.
The challenge faced by builders of alternative technologies is to face up to
cold, hard reality--stop bleating about Microsoft and get on with the job of
delivering technology, not talk. The sooner this process begins the better it
will be for all of us, since Microsoft is already making good progress on its
(And no, I'm not paid by Microsoft. Microsoft hasn't helped me with this
piece. Indeed, no one at Microsoft has even seen it. And I'm a Linux user by
personal preference, but then again, I am a bit of a geek.)
Gary Barnett is IT research director at Ovum Ltd., a United Kingdom-based consulting firm.