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Deconstructing the Latest Netcraft Survey

Aug 07, 2007, 16:30 (3 Talkback[s])

[ Thanks to SteveOC for this article. ]

According to Netcraft, their latest Aug 2007 survey shows more very large gains for Microsoft technologies on the web:

"In the August 2007 survey we received responses from 127,961,479 sites, an increase of 2.3 million sites from last month. Microsoft continues to increase its web server market share, adding 2.6 million sites this month as Apache loses 991K hostnames. As a result, Windows improves its market share by 1.4% to 34.2%, while Apache slips by 1.7% to 48.4%. Microsoft's recent gains raise the prospect that Windows may soon challenge Apache's leadership position."

"What does this mean for Apache? Is Apache dying? Is Microsoft set to take top spot as the web platform of choice?

My take on this is a little out left field; let's look at the bigger picture here. What I believe we are seeing here is quite simple--the old client-server fat desktop model of development is dying, and everybody wants to get in on web apps.

So, of course, there is a big rush of growth in domain names (many of them parked), simple brochure-ware sites, and first-attempts at websites with a mix of content and back-end code.

Thus it's no surprise to see the result of millions of former desktop VB programmers take their first big steps out of the 1980s, with the result being a big growth in new sites of all types. We are going to see more and more and more Windows 'servers' popping up on the Net.

You cannot infer from this anything useful in terms of comparing the functionality of IIS to Apache, or Windows to Unix, or (insert religious-war flamebait here).

All you can infer is that the web continues to grow, and that many Microsoft-centric developers are getting on board with web apps. That's it in a nutshell.

You can infer from this that web apps have become a mainstream solution to age-old IT problems and this trend is here to stay. That's fantastically good news for anyone who is up to speed with the tubes of the internets, and who enjoys making their solutions web-based.

There are no more board room battles needed to convince PHBs that webifying your projects is a sensible plan of attack. Microsoft has done a fantastic job of breaking down that particular barrier. They have also done well for themselves in doing that, but unwittingly--by having opening up the floodgates--they are helping to make the old idea of 'The desktop is the computer' a thing of the past. They are helping to push the idea that 'the web is the computer,' which truly opens the field up like never before.

And so, every new Microsoft server popping up on the web with some first attempt at a website is a future business opportunity. All of those sites (even the most spectacularly unsuccessful), will generate future requirements for bigger and better expansions down the track. As that happens, the business opportunities for taking these companies to the next level will be phenomenal.

Like anything remotely complicated, the real winners here are those rare breed of people with the skills to make it happen. The creme of the crop of MS developers will do well, but for myself (as a Linux nut devoted to the web), it is also a good thing. It's so much easier to take something already almost-running on IIS and convert it to my way of doing things, than it is to take a hairball mess of a VB-, Access-, and Office-based "desktop solution" and make it work on the web.

I don't know how many readers here can remember the early 1990s, but I remember clearly how Microsoft tried every trick in the book to kill this threat called "the Internet." It was clear back then that the Internet would (eventually) spell the end of the road for a complete Windows stranglehold. Redmond's replacement vision at the time (called "The Microsoft Network") was a non-TCP/IP-based global SMB network that would rely on RPCs and OLE-2 over netbui. Thank goodness that never happened!

While Microsoft may conveniently be rewriting history 1984-style to suit themselves ("We are allied to Eurasia, we have always been strong allies of Eurasia"), the fact is, they are being extremely helpful at the moment in supporting the notion of the web as an application platform. We have been fighting for this concept for over 15 years now.

I, for one, thoroughly welcome Microsoft to the party, helping us put a nail in the coffin of the closed and proprietary desktop operating system paradigm. Every new web-based development, regardless of how it is hosted, means one less (MS-based) desktop development.

For me, at least, every new IIS server that steals a fraction of a percentage point on the latest Netcraft survey broadens my smile by a fraction of a percentage point. I don't have any problem with that. As a member of the Linux faithful, neither should you.

SteveOC

ZDNet: Google Moves the Numbers, Press Panics

"Supposedly the big news coming out of LinuxWorld today is that Microsoft's IIS server is 'catching up' to Apache.

Bunk. Apache's share is declining because Google has switched its own servers to its own flavor of Apache--the Google Front End server--which makes extensive use of AJAX and server-side Java for faster page loads..."

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