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Who's the Number-One Server Vendor? Both IBM and Sun

Mar 14, 2001, 22:09 (8 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Kevin Reichard)

By Kevin Reichard

We're number one, claims Sun Microsystems. No, we're number one, says IBM.

Turns out both can make that claim, according to the most recent International Data Corp. (IDC) research on server market share in 2000. IBM is the number-one vendor in worldwide server sales, while Sun Microsystems now is the top server vendor in the United States.

For the full year 2000, IBM was the top vendor with 23 percent of worldwide market revenue; Sun was number two with 17 percent market share; Compaq captured third place with 16.5 percent; while Hewlett-Packard and Dell rounded out the top five with 15 percent and 6 percent, respectively. IDC reports the worldwide server market topped $60.2 billion in factory revenue on shipments of almost 4.4 million for calendar year 2000. This translates to 7 percent annual revenue growth and 17 percent unit growth.

For Linux users, the IDC survey held good news: IDC estimates that the Linux server market is now a $1.7 billion market, up 132 percent from 1999. Most of these installations are in what IDC deems the low end of the server market, where Linux competes with Microsoft's Windows NT and Windows 2000. Despite the huge leap in revenues, IDC estimates that Linux-server sales lag Windows NT/2000 server sales widely in terms of revenues: Windows NT/2000 sales were estimated to rise 31 percent in 2000, to $13.9 billion in sales. In addition, overall UNIX server sales rose 14 percent, to $29 billion.

IBM was a beneficiary of all of these trends. According to IDC, 4Q2000 saw IBM become the fastest-growing Windows NT/2000 server vendor, with a 60 percent revenue growth. Similarly, 4Q2000 saw IBM become the fastest-growing Linux vendor, with a 178 percent revenue growth.

There's now no doubt that IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and Sun are by far the largest UNIX vendors, with the three dominating the top positions in the high-end, midrange, and entry-level UNIX markets. IBM leads in the midrange field (servers costing $100,000 - $1 million), while Sun leads in both the high-end and entry fields. Overall, the top five vendors accounted for almost 80 percent of the worldwide factory revenue: IBM led with 27 percent market share; Compaq and Sun Microsystems were neck and neck for the number two spot, at 16.34 percent and 16.32 percent, respectively; Hewlett-Packard captured the fourth position with 14 percent; and Dell rounded out the top five with almost 6 percent.

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