In a recent post I asked why Apache is losing market share for several months in a row now. Several readers responded with insightful comments and possible answers like better configuration tools or today’s high quality of IIS.
The response to my article was overwhelming – I never got so many comments to one single article. I really appreciate the feedback because it gives a glimpse about the reality behind the figures.
The main reason – which I embarrassingly haven’t included in my speculations – seems to be that IIS simply grew up. Many readers pointed out that from there point of view IIS turned from a crappy piece into a decent, appealing product. It is stable, reliable and gives all you need as a web administrator. Microsoft seems to make huge and important steps to improve its product and really take on the competition.
The second reason mentioned by many readers was about the ease of configuration: IIS comes with a comfortable GUI which makes it easy and straightforward to administer such servers. Also, it is easy to set up on Windows machines because it is also integrated into the system. In the opposite case Apache does not have a main GUI, but a quite complicated configuration file (of course there are 3rd party GUIs – but they are 3rd party). Also, setting up Apache is more difficult than setting up IIS.
A third reason seems to be APS.Net. Several comments mentions ASP.Net as a good reason to use IIS because it offers more than other solutions, or at least the combination IIS+ASP.Net offers more than Apache+anything. It was also suggested that ASP.Net is aggressively marketed among IT people and others which in return makes IIS more attractive. It works on big companies, btw.
However, there was one reason with which I do have problems: the support perspective. If you are running Apache on an enterprise server you are able to get professional support. There are Red Hat and Novell, for example, and now also Oracle. You are not forced to ask on e-mail lists or in the usenet to get support for Apache.
Anyway, as a summary it looks like that MS learned its lesson and put some effort into IIS. And the money is not only spend in one field but in several fields.
To use the words of the readers:
“The IIS of old, isn’t the same IIS of new”, while “Apache is the same ugly beast it was 5 years ago”.
I wonder if the Apache community is aware of these opinions, and if the take them for serious.
And I wonder what kind of impact a wider spread of IIS will have. The monopoly of IE5+6 was so bad it even created problems for MS themselves when IE7 was released. And although I know that many people say Microsoft changes these days, the main people there are still Ballmer and Gates, not Bill Hilf or someone else more open minded to open standards…
Some things to remember: This is not about the GoDaddy move, this is about the general trend taking place. Second, this is not about the absolute numbers – it is about the market share in percentage. Last but not least, I do not deal with web servers on my own. I have little to no experience in that field. This post just summarizes things mentioned at my blog.