June 04, 2001, 2:29 PM — InfoWorld in the past ran its influential Readers' Choice Awards every year, but for the past few years, the awards were dropped. This issue marks the awards' return in grand style. Finalists for the awards were nominated by InfoWorld editors, writers, and analysts, and then readers were asked to vote online for their favorites. To make sure that the results were unbiased and unsullied by vote tampering, we asked voters to use their subscription numbers to identify themselves, and each subscription number could vote only once.
InfoWorld readers are known for their technological acumen, and subsequently the results of the voting are very revealing. Some choices you made were resounding and clear, but others in more detailed technical categories were close, with winners decided by only a fraction. In the Knowledge Management/Business Intelligence category, for example, Business Objects SA's BusinessObjects 2000 edged Cognos Inc.'s Platform for EBI by 25 percent to 23 percent; even the lowest finisher, Information Builders Inc. WebFocus BI Suite, received 16 percent of the vote.
In the bigger categories, some clear trends emerged. Napster Inc. won Company of the Year not because of its success but because of how it affected the law and the e-business market for everyone. Runners-up IBM Corp., and Sun Microsystems Inc., however, were chosen more for their commercial success and product offerings than for their influence on the direction of the industry. Alan Greenspan won Person of the Year, reflecting the importance that the overall economy has on IT, and vice versa. The Flop of the Year, the pure-play dot-coms, is also an important lesson in recent economic history. But just as interesting is that the runners-up were also economic factors such as the stock market and energy deregulation, with the exception of the company everyone loves to hate, represented by Microsoft Windows 2000.
Hype of the Year, however, didn't have a clear winner. Obviously there was more than enough hot air to go around during the past year, with Bluetooth only just beating out the Death of Microsoft, peer-to-peer, Windows 2000, and the New Economy in your minds.
Although IBM didn't win as Company of the Year, different divisions cleaned up in five different categories. WebSphere in particular proved very popular with InfoWorld readers as it won Application Integration Tool of the Year with 52 percent of the vote, Enterprise Application of the Year with 46 percent of the vote, and E-commerce Product of the Year with 53 percent of the vote -- all landslide victories. The company itself, or at least the Global Services division, wasn't far behind, winning as Outsourcer of the Year with 53 percent of the vote and Consulting Service of the Year with 46 percent of the vote -- both also landslides.