You've made your decisions about which vendors you think provide the best products and services in their class, and now we're happy to report the results. This issue is completely devoted to describing the winning products and service offerings and spotlighting your testimonials about what makes these products and services outstanding.

About the Survey
Each year, we improve upon the previous year's survey by adding new products and product categories that represent what you use in your organization. For this year's awards, more than 250 vendors submitted product nominations in 16 categories. Voting took place online from April 15, 2004, to May 14, 2004, and was open to qualified subscribers and readers of our online, email, and print publications.

Reader response was awesome! From the moment we announced that voting opened until the moment the survey closed, votes came in fast and furious. A total of 2083 respondents picked the winners in each product category.

About the Winners
You and your peers--the Windows IT Pro community--rewarded excellence in 16 general categories: Business Applications, Client Hardware, Development Tools, Disaster Prevention/Recovery Software, Internet/Intranet, Messaging Products, Network Infrastructure Products, Network Management Products, Remote Computing Products, Security Products, Storage Products, Systems Management Products, Telephony Products, Training and Certification, Utilities, and Web-Based Services. Each general category includes several subcategories of types of products that fall within the scope of the general categories. For example, Best Firewall is one of 13 subcategories within Security Products. You picked winners in a total of 86 subcategories, representing products from 42 vendors.

"Best Overall" Winners
Readers also voted for superior products in five "Best Overall" departments. Unlike the categories, which listed products to vote for, the "Best Overall" departments required voters to write in the products they thought deserved recognition. In an unprecedented outcome, one company, Vircom, won three of the five overall awards: Most Innovative Product, Best Software, and Best Service and Support. Best New Product went to VMware VirtualCenter, and Best Hardware went to Dell's PowerEdge servers.

Multiple-Award Winners
Seventeen vendors took awards in two or more categories. We'd like to recongnize the following vendors for winning multiple awards in this year's competition: Adobe Systems, Check Point Software Technologies, Cisco Systems, Dell, Emergent OnLine, HP, iCode, Intense School, Linksys, Microsoft, Network Associates, ScriptLogic, Symantec, VERITAS Software, Vircom, VMware, and Winternals Software.

Congratulations and Thanks
Congratulations to all of this year's winners not only for developing superior products but also for having such an impact on their customers that those customers have taken the time to single out those products. We welcome your suggestions about how to make future Readers' Choice issues better (send us a message at readerschoice@windowsitpro.com). If you're a vendor, tell us about any categories that we're missing so that we can include them next year. To our readers, your response to this year's survey speaks volumes to us about your interest in third-party products and your enthusiasm for expressing your opinions. Thank you for taking time to take our survey.