Microsoft Corp planned on Monday to announce its move into a new business, unveiling a database software that works with a rival to its Windows operating system, a move that takes aim at a market long dominated by Oracle Corp. The new database product will work with the Linux operating system. The move is the latest to show Microsoft’s increasing willingness to work with competing products, a radical change for the once fiercely protective company.
In an era of excessive amounts of data, much of it used by companies trying to win more business and establish competitive edges, data management has become critically important.
Overall database-software sales, well north of $30 billion, and have kept rising even though spending in information technology has been generally lackluster, said Gartner analyst Merv Adrian.
“If you look at the companies that are transforming and disrupting industries, it is often with data at the core,” said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president for cloud and enterprise at Microsoft. “All of them are using data in a much richer way now to understand their customers.”
Microsoft’s SQL Server business has been behind No. 1 Oracle, which has more than 40 percent market share in database software and works with Linux, Adrian said.
Microsoft covers 21.5 percent of the market, he said, pushing International Business Machines Corp from second to third place in 2013. The product is one of Microsoft’s biggest business lines. SAP SE also competes in the area.
Under Nadella, Microsoft has made many products compatible with other systems, including Apple’s iOS. Late last year, it opened its cloud service, Azure, to customers of Red Hat, a company that makes a popular version of Linux.