Posted by: kurtsh | December 19, 2006

NEWS: Microsoft positioned in “leader’s quadrant” for Gartner PC Lifecycle Management

A Quick Summary of Gartner’s Position on Microsoft & PC Life Cycle Management
Gartner recently published its “2006 PC Life Cycle Magic Quadrant,” which positions Microsoft as a “Leader” in the marketplace. The analysts proclaim that Microsoft has the largest PC Lifecycle Management installed base, with nearly 50 percent market share, which was a key contributor to our continued movement on ratings for ability to execute. Delivering on the security enhancements of SMS 2003 R2 as well as the Softricity, AssetMetrix and Winternals acquisitions, demonstrated a completeness in vision that moved us into the a leadership position. We see Microsoft’s Magic Quadrant position as validation that our desktop configuration management strategy is market leading and we look forward to continued movement in this quadrant as we deliver on System Center Configuration Manager 2007 and its focus on simplicity, security, deployment and configuration.

Gartner defines the “leaders” quadrant as vendors whose ”ability to execute proven by its high market share and appearance on numerous shortlists. That ability is bolstered by industry-leading overall fiscal health, broad geographic presence and a superior track record for market responsiveness and customer service. A leader will have vision scores that reflect feature-complete products, and show leadership in providing some life cycle management functions that users have just started requesting. Often, leaders are innovative in adding functions not yet being requested, but add capability to enhance the PC life cycle configuration experience.” In conversations with Gartner, the analysts commented that Microsoft has a solid understanding and has made great strides to shed the negative perceptions that surrounded earlier versions of SMS.

Before reading the summary of the article, there’s a few things to note:

  • The latest Gartner Quadrant recognizes SMS momentum. Gartner says that Microsoft is headed in the right direction through feature/functionality enhancements as well as acquisition strategy and we agree. This is positive for Microsoft and demonstrates market recognition for the company’s continued investment to move the technology forward and to provide best-in-class configuration, asset and virtualization management solutions for customers.
  • This report does not factor in any of the new innovation and capabilities in Configuration Manager 2007. Though Gartner states that customers need to wait to see how Configuration Manager works, we are very aware of how much customer satisfaction has improved with SMS 2003 over SMS 2.0 and feel that releasing a product not ready for deployment by our largest enterprise customers would compromise the great strides we have made in systems management.  We are confident in the user experience and quality of Configuration Manager, and customer should rest assured that we will deliver a market leading product.


Magic Quadrant for PC Life Cycle Configuration Management, 2006 (Gartner, Dec 4, 2006)
Microsoft is positioned in the leader’s quadrant in Gartner’s latest PC Life Cycle Configuration Management Magic Quadrant.


Gartner’s analysis of Microsoft in this report
Since our last Magic Quadrant, Microsoft has made several acquisitions (Softricity, AssetMetrix and Winternals) that shows it is not only shoring up its existing product compared with the competition, but also is preparing to change the way organizations deploy software by addressing application virtualization and streaming, more-accurate asset discovery, and recovery, respectively. The AssetMetrix software knowledge base will be offered for free. SMS 2003 accomplishes life cycle functions through add-ons such as its OS deployment feature pack, which could be more automated, and its Solution Accelerator for Business Desktop Deployment, which is targeted at improving time to implementation, but requires a lot of scripting expertise. Microsoft’s vision for the next version of SMS (due 3Q07; 0.7 probability) will focus on desired-state reporting and PC deployment/migration. Although the new features should bring Microsoft at least up to parity in life cycle management functions, customers need to wait to see how well the product will work. However, it appears to be headed in the right direction. By acquiring Softricity, Microsoft has validated application virtualization and streaming as a way to deploy and run software. Although SoftGrid can be integrated with SMS, it will be sold as part of the Software Assurance Desktop Optimization Pack for Windows client.


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