In the end, the two giants tied statistically, but Microsoft edged ahead with just three votes. The final tally: Microsoft won 16.2 percent of readers' hearts and Apple had the support of 15.9 percent. Favorite Vendor wasn't the only contest too close to call if the results were rounded to the nearest whole number -- Best Application Server, Best Enterprise Storage Product, and Best Networking Product were also neck and neck until the bitter end. So we decided to publish the ballot results to the tenth of a percent, ensuring that readers' true choices were maintained in the final results.
More than 1,000 InfoWorldreaders voted, weighing in with resounding support for Microsoft, which earned three more categories to call its own, as well as admiration for Apple, the 2003 ballot's upstart. Just as open source is making solid inroads in the enterprise, open source products made a strong showing, taking two categories and earning runner-up status in three others. Not so startling is readers' disgust with spam, this year's Worst Disaster, not to mention anti-spam software, which was named Biggest Hype. Despite strong applause for some, this year saw no single vendor overwhelmingly sweep the Readers' Choice Awards. (See the 2003 InfoWorld Readers' Choice Awards Special Reportfor complete results.)
Bouncing back from its dismal showing in last year's awards, Microsoft took more categories than any other vendor. "It has been an exciting year for Microsoft operating systems and development environments. The rest leaves me cold," says Samuel L. Matzen, director of software development at SLM Software in Wichita, Kan.