Dataquest: Oracle extends lead in database sales

Oracle Corp. consolidated its lead in the overall database management systems (DBMS) software market in 2000, although Microsoft Corp. narrowly edged ahead in sales of Windows NT relational DBMS, according to figures released by market analyst Dataquest Inc. on Tuesday.

Three vendors (Oracle, IBM Corp. and Microsoft) were together responsible for 79 percent of all DBMS sales in 2000 (see Table 1). Oracle strengthened its lead with a 33.8 percent share of the market, ahead of IBM (30.1 percent) and Microsoft (14.9 percent). Informix Corp., struggling during the course of the year with management changes and its acquisition of Ardent, slipped back to fifth place behind Sybase Inc., Dataquest said in a statement. (Dataquest is a wholly-owned company of Gartner Group Inc.)IBM Corp. said in April it will acquire Informix's database business, Informix Software Inc., in a cash transaction valued at US$1 billion.

The overall market for DBMS grew slower last year than in previous years, as a result of the downturn in the U.S. economy in the middle of the year, with worldwide new licence revenue reaching $8.8 billion, up 10 percent year on year. In 1999, licence revenue grew 18 percent, Dataquest said.

Within that overall market, sales of pre-relational and object database software shrunk compared to the previous year.

The market for all relational DBMS grew 15 percent, accounting for 80 percent of the overall DMBS market, Dataquest said.

On a platform-by-platform basis, sales of RDBMS for the Windows NT platform grew the fastest, at 34 percent year on year. Here, Oracle and Microsoft went head to head, with Microsoft taking a slight lead with 38.0 percent of the market for Windows NT RDBMS, compared to Oracle's 37.3 percent share, according to Dataquest figures.

On the Unix platform, Oracle remained ahead, with 66.2 percent of the market for Unix RDBMS, followed by IBM (14.4 percent) and Informix (6.7 percent).

Dataquest predicts that the fight for market dominance is far from over, with the big three continuing to do battle in the fields of vendor and applications support, pricing, platform support, scalability and availability.

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