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2/28/2005
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IBM Tops Booming Server Market

It's looked like boom times are here in the server market, judging by the latest market-share numbers. The worldwide server market grew 5.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2004, generating $14.4 billion in revenues, according to just-released figures from market researchers IDC.

It looks like boom times are here in the server market, judging by the latest market-share numbers. The worldwide server market grew 5.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2004, generating $14.4 billion in revenues, according to just-released figures from market researchers IDC. For the full year, worldwide server revenues were up 6.2 percent to $49.0 billion.

IBM led the overall server market for 2004, pulling in $16.3 billion for a 33.3 percent share of total server revenues, followed by Hewlett-Packard with $13.0 billion and a 26.6 percent share. Sun Microsystems took third place for the year as a whole, with revenues of $5.2 billion and a 10.5 percent market share. Dell came in fourth, with $4.6 billion in revenues for the year and a 9.5 percent market share.

Most impressively, both IBM and HP demonstrated growth in their respective server businesses on a quarter-to-quarter basis. The two vendors' gains appear to have come at the expense of third-place vendor Sun Microsystems and fourth-place Fujitsu, which both showed slight fourth-quarter revenue drops.

According to IDC, IBM's fourth-quarter rise was driven primarily by strong performances from its xSeries and pSeries servers. HP's strength was driven by healthy sales of its Proliant server line, IDC said.

Parsing the market numbers by technology segment, IDC reported that the x86 server market experienced strong growth, with shipments up 16.8 percent to 1.6 million units in the fourth quarter. That bumped quarterly revenues up 16.8 percent to $6.3 billion worldwide. HP led the x86 server market, with Dell and IBM locked in a statistical tie for second.

Blade servers also boomed, with the market for 2004 as a whole almost doubling in size to over $1.1 billion worldwide.

Unix server revenues totaled $5.2 billion in the fourth quarter, increasing 2.7 percent over the year-earlier quarter.

Servers running Linux generated $1.3 billion in fourth-quarter revenues, representing 9.0 percent of all worldwide server revenues. More significantly, the last three months of 2004 marked the second sequential $1 billion-plus quarter for Linux servers. HP led the Linux-server market with a 26 percent revenue share, followed by IBM with 23.5 percent and Dell with 15.8 percent.

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