IBM makes gains in weak server market

IBM Corp. won server market share in 2001 even though hardware sales slowed for all major vendors, according to a recent study from Gartner Inc.

IBM and Dell Computer Corp. were the only two companies able to gain ground in worldwide server sales among the top five server vendors. Including both Unix and Intel servers, IBM upped its share of server revenue from 25 percent to 29 percent year-on-year, according to Gartner. Dell also made a slight jump to take 6.4 percent of overall server revenue, up from 6.3 percent the year before.

Sun Microsystems Inc., Compaq Computer Corp., and Hewlett-Packard Co. all lost ground in 2001, as a slow global economy punished hardware vendors. Sun slid two percentage points to grab 15.4 percent of the market, Compaq dropped to 13.9 percent from 14.8 percent and HP hit 12.8 percent of the market down from 12.9 percent, Gartner said.

IBM claims a resurgent mainframe server business helped bolster sales in an otherwise depressed market. The company has launched this year a new series of lower cost mainframe computers as a response to what it sees as growing demand for this type of server. On the whole, server makers are pushing hardware consolidation as a goal during this slump.

Total server sales were just US$47 billion in 2001 compared to $55.6 billion a year earlier, Gartner said.

IBM also made the strongest move in the lucrative Unix server segment. Big Blue saw its revenue share rise to 20.3 percent from 18 percent a year before. Sun still dominates the Unix market with a 35.2 percent share, but a drop from 38.3 percent in 2000. HP, Compaq and Dell all held relatively flat in Unix sales.

The lower priced and lower end Intel market was also slow. IBM and Dell made small market share gains, grabbing 13.9 percent and 17.6 percent of the market respectively.

The market leader in Intel-based servers was Compaq, which shed 1.6 percentage points of share to end the year with 26.3 percent of the market.

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