IBM gains ground in 2001 with strong server sales

IBM 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.

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 were able to make the best of the situation by gaining ground on certain metrics.

Looking at Unix and Intel-based servers combined, IBM increased its share of revenue in the U.S. to 29.3 percent in 2001, from 21.5 percent a year earlier. Its key competitors all saw their share of the market slip, with Sun Microsystems falling from 22.0 percent to 21.4 and Compaq Computer declining from 16.5 percent to 14.5 percent, Gartner said. Dell and Hewlett-Packard also saw their overall server revenue slip, to 10.5 percent and 9.1 percent, 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 percent, while its share of Intel-based server sales climbed 1.63 points to 12.4 percent.

Dell eked out an increase of 1.1 percentage points in the Unix market to reach 3.4 percent, 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 percent. 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 percent of revenue, according to Gartner. It's followed by IBM, then HP with 16.6 percent, Compaq with 5.1 percent, 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 $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.

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