IBM servers gain ground in 2001

IBM Corp. was the exception among the big hardware vendors in the U.S. last year, being the only company to see its share of revenue from overall server sales increase from the year before, according to data released Monday by Gartner Inc.

On the whole 2001 was a difficult year for all vendors, with server sales falling due to significant cutbacks in technology spending. Still, IBM and Dell Computer Corp. were able to make the best of the situation by gaining ground on certain metrics.

Looking at Unix and Intel Corp.-based servers combined, IBM increased its share of revenue in the U.S. to 29.3 per cent in 2001, from 21.5 per cent a year earlier. Its key competitors all saw their share of the market slip, with Sun Microsystems Inc. falling from 22.0 per cent to 21.4 and Compaq Computer Corp. declining from 16.5 per cent to 14.5 per cent, Gartner said. Dell and Hewlett-Packard Co. also saw their overall server revenue slip, to 10.5 per cent and 9.1 per cent, respectively.

IBM made the largest overall gains in revenue share in both the Unix and Intel segments. It’s share of revenue from Unix servers sold in the U.S. climbed 3.1 percentage points to reach 20.9 per cent, while its share of Intel-based server sales climbed 1.63 points to 12.4 per cent.

Dell eked out an increase of 1.1 percentage points in the Unix market to reach 3.4 per cent, although it still brings up the rear in the top 5. It’s share of the Intel-based market climbed 0.74 percentage points to reach 26.2 per cent. That puts it a fraction of a share behind Compaq, which took the most revenue from Intel-based server sales despite a decline year-over-year.

Sun maintained its commanding lead in the Unix segment with 46.4 per cent of revenue, according to Gartner. It’s followed by IBM, then HP with 16.6 per cent, Compaq with 5.1 per cent, and then Dell, according to Gartner.

For the fourth quarter only, U.S. server sales overall dropped to US$4.3 billion from last year’s total of US$5.8 billion. Unit shipments also declined, from 502,189 to 448,451, according to Gartner. The overall U.S. sales figures for 2001 as a whole were not immediately available, nor were any figures for worldwide sales.

Gartner Inc., based in Stamford, Conn., is at