Microsoft is stodgy, but not very stodgy. But the company formerly known as Novell is super stodgy. is straddling the line. And Google is the least stodgy of them all.

That’s the result of a highly nonscientific survey, conducted over the past couple of months, by yours truly. As you may recall from my Feb. 7 column, “Stodgy old Microsoft,” a radio analyst referred to the folks in Redmond that way during a story about their quarterly returns.

It’s time to share the complete results. Several hundred people filled out the survey, which was linked in my column, tweeted out and put on Facebook. Although there was no statistical rigor, the rankings are revealing.

Some folks commented, by the way, that I didn’t define what “stodgy” meant. That’s right: The question was simply, “Stodgy or not stodgy?” That was intentional, as I was wondering what you thought, without using my own definition or a definition that I might find somewhere on the Internet. You can have fun Googling/Binging the word yourself.

Now, as to the rankings: There were 32 companies listed in the survey. Let’s do a Gartner-inspired quadrant system here. The eight stodgiest organizations, who we’ll call “super stodgy,” were:


Ouch for Novell, Symantec and HP—they were even worse than “big iron” companies like SAP, CA Technologies, Oracle, Accenture and IBM. But frankly, nobody should be proud to be in this category.

Let’s move on to the second group of eight, the “very stodgy” organizations. This still isn’t a happy place to be, unless what you’re selling is reliability instead of innovation:

Organization          % who said stodgy
Attachmate            80%
Sony                  80%
Research in Motion    77%
Dell                  77%
Nokia                 76%
Intel                 71%
Motorola              70%
Yahoo                 70%

The third quadrant has the eight companies that were fairly stodgy, but not overwhelmingly so. Let’s call them the “sort of stodgy.” The companies here are known for being innovative (how about those flip cameras, Cisco?), but aren’t living on the leading edge:

Organization          % who said stodgy
Cisco                 68%
Red Hat               60%
Microsoft             59%
Adobe                 57%
Canonical             54%
Linux Foundation      51%        50%
VMware                44%

And finally, the eight most non-stodgy organizations—the “super non-stodgy,” let’s stay. Frankly, this quadrant surprised me. The four least stodgy, in Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Google, that makes perfect sense. But I honestly didn’t expect to find the four open-source organizations clustered here:


What do you think? Does this listing seem about right to you? Write me at

Alan Zeichick is editorial director of SD Times. Read his blog at