Sun's share of servers still slipping

Uncertainty over Oracle deal impacting vendor's position in the market

Sun Microsystems share of the overall server market continues to slip away according to global results released by analyst firm Gartner.

In the third quarter of 2009, Sun's revenue share dropped by 1.8 per cent compared to the same period in 2008 to hit 7.4 per cent. Its share of shipments also fell away, declining by 0.9 per cent to 2.6 per cent year over year. Sun was also the only vendor not to experience sequential revenue growth, Gartner said.

Conversely the result saw Fujitsu gain ground with the Japanese vendor's revenue share in Q3 2009 rising by 0.3 per cent to hit 5.2 per cent. Fujitsu also overtook Sun in terms of its share of shipments – it gained 0.3 per cent to reach 3.5 per cent.

IBM took top spot in the overall revenue share rankings with 31.7 per cent followed by HP (30.2 per cent) and then Dell (13.4 per cent).

For shipments HP dominated the field with 32.1 per cent in Q3 2009 followed by Dell (22.8 per cent) and then IBM (12.8 per cent).

Globally server shipments overall dropped by 17.1 per cent year on year for the July to September period while server revenue – which totaled $10.7 billion for the quarter from 1.2 million units shipped – also declined 15.5 per cent.

However, the sequential results showed a rise of 13.8 per cent in shipments and 10.2 per cent in revenues.

Sun remained the top seller of Unix systems by volume, but its lead was pared down from a year earlier as shipments declined by almost half.

In terms of dollars spent, HP overtook Sun to become the second-largest Unix vendor behind IBM. HP grew its share of Unix systems revenue from 28 percent to 29.3 percent, while Sun's declined from 29.2 percent to 24.2 percent, Gartner said. IBM's share increased from 36.4 percent to 40.9 percent.

The Unix server market overall was worth $2.6 billion, a drop of 21.2 percent from the third quarter last year.

Industry-standard servers fared a little better. Sales of x86-based systems declined by 11.4 percent from last year, to $6.3 billion. HP retained its dominant lead, followed by Dell, IBM, Fujitsu and NEC

Gartner did not provide an additional breakdown of the server market in its statement.

Additional reporting by James Niccolai, IDG News Service, San Francisco Bureau

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