IBM has overtaken Oracle to regain its lead in the growing database market, according to preliminary numbers released last week in a report by Dataquest.
Anchored by strong sales of its AS/400 and S/390 systems, as well as growth for DB2 on Unix and Windows NT platforms, IBM increased its market share in new license revenue more than 3 percent to 32.3 percent, 3 percentage points ahead of Oracle. The overall database market, according to the report, grew 15 percent in 1998.
Janet Perna, general manager of data management at IBM's software solutions division, in Toronto, said the company is delighted with the news. "Most of the growth over the last five years has been on Unix, and IBM didn't even have a Unix product until 1995, so we've kind of been digging out of a hole to get back on top," Perna said.
Oracle remained strong in key market segments, and, despite news that the company had been bounced from the top spot overall, company officials were upbeat.
"If you focus on the key growth areas -- Unix and NT -- we are very pleased with our performance," said Chuck Rozwat, senior vice president at Oracle's technology division, in Redwood Shores, Calif.
The report showed Microsoft placed a solid third in the overall market, but Microsoft officials said they believe the company has gained substantial market share since the release of SQL Server 7.0 in November 1998. Sybase and Informix both lost market share, but remained at rankings of fourth and fifth, respectively.
The most substantial loss in market share came from smaller vendors, and according to the Dataquest report, that trend should continue as the big three -- IBM, Oracle, and Microsoft -- are poised to lead the database market into the future.
"Databases are such a core technology that companies want to be sure they are establishing an architecture that is sustainable over the long haul," Perna said. For that reason, she believes, consolidation of the market by the three major vendors is no surprise.
For the complete report, contact Dataquest, a unit of the Gartner Group, in San Jose, California, at www.dataquest.com.