Demand for servers grew worldwide for the third consecutive quarter as businesses continue to increase spending in IT equipment after years of financial restraint, according to sales figures released late last month by International Data Corp.

Globally, factory sales of servers increased 11.4 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2003 to US$13.7 billion from US$12.3 billion in the same period the year before, according to IDC.

For the first time since the economic downturn in 2001, sales of servers grew in all major categories, ranging from volume servers (priced less than US$25,000) to mid-range enterprise servers (US$25,000 to US$499,999) and high-end servers (US$500,000 and more).

Sales of servers with the open source Linux operating system rose 63.1 per cent to US$960 million in the fourth quarter compared to the year-earlier period; unit shipments grew 52.5 per cent year-on-year.

The market for servers equipped with Microsoft Corp.’s Windows operating system saw fourth-quarter sales increase 16.1 per cent year-on-year to US$3.9 billion, representing 31.7 per cent of total server revenue in the quarter.

Unix-based server revenue was US$5.1 billion in the fourth quarter, up 0.8 per cent over the same quarter a year earlier, showing the first year-on-year growth in 11 quarters, according to IDC.

Total server revenue in 2003 was US$45.7 billion, up 3.2 per cent from US$44.3 billion the year before, IDC said.

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