Dataquest: Server shipments flat in Q1 2002

Despite tough economic times, server shipments were flat worldwide, but up in the United States, in the first quarter of 2002 when compared to the first quarter of 2001, according to new figures released yesterday by Dataquest Inc, a unit of Gartner Inc.

Worldwide server shipments for the quarter totalled around 1.088 million units, up 0.6 percent from the same quarter last year, according to Dataquest. The U.S. saw better growth, however, shipping a total of 419,622 servers for the quarter, up 7.6 percent from the first quarter 2001, the San Jose, California-based company said.

The figures track the shipments of servers of all sizes, including mainframes, according to Shahin Naftchi, senior analyst for servers in the Computing Platform Worldwide program at Dataquest.

Compaq Computer Corp. shipped the most servers worldwide in the first quarter 2002, moving 248,201 units, up 1.6 percent from the same quarter last year, Dataquest said. Compaq, consequently, commanded the largest market share at 22.8 percent, up slightly from 22.6 in the first quarter 2001, according to Dataquest.

The biggest gainer in terms of units shipped was Dell Computer Corp., which saw its shipments jump 14.2 percent year-on-year to 193,407 servers, Dataquest said.

Hewlett-Packard Co. lost the most ground worldwide in the first three months of 2002, shipping 13.3 percent fewer servers in the first quarter 2002 than in the same quarter 2001. HP moved 93,641 servers in the quarter, compared to 108,038 in the same quarter in 2002, Dataquest said.

The worldwide shipment numbers are showing signs of increasing over the last few quarters, but those increases have been so small that Dataquest's outlook is cautious, said Naftchi.

Any improvement usually "takes two to three quarters to show in (the server market), because of the purchase cycle for servers," she said.

Despite that, shipments in the U.S. do appear to be "picking up, stabilizing," she said.

Dell was the leader in both percentage gain and total units shipped in the first quarter 2002 in the U.S., with 109,091 servers shipped, totalling an increase of 16.5 percent over the same quarter in 2001, according to Dataquest.

Compaq came in second in the U.S., with 89,884 servers shipped in the quarter, up 9.3 percent over the same quarter in 2001, the company said.

The quarter's big loser in the U.S. was HP, which shipped 17,100 servers, down 31.5 percent from the first three months of 2001, Dataquest said.

Most worldwide server shipments are coming on machines priced under US$5,000, Naftchi said. Shipments on higher end machines are low "because customers try not to spend so much on technology until their business gets stabilized," she said.

"They are deferring until the economic situation is stabilized," she said.

Nonetheless, there may be hope on the horizon. Though it's hard to say if the overall trend in server shipments is up, "the next quarter is traditionally a good one," Naftchi said.

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