Worldwide sales of workstations and servers increased last year, according to the latest figures from Dataquest, but the analyst firm was cautious about the next six months as the sluggish economy begins to bite the IT industry.
Despite the widely reported slowdown in PC sales over the past three months, server shipments for the period rose 21 per cent over the fourth quarter of 1999. Sales of workstations also grew 11.3 per cent, according to the research company.
For the year 2000, three of the top-tier server vendors reported double-digit growth rates. Sun Microsystems and Dell showed the strongest unit increases, boasting growth rates of 61 and 42 per cent, respectively. Also, Compaq surpassed the one-million mark for unit shipments for the first time.
"Most of the growth in the US has been fuelled by ebusiness and demand for front-end web and database servers," said Dataquest analyst Jeffrey Hewitt.
But he added: "The next two quarters will be critical in assessing the impact of the current economic situation on the server market."
Worldwide server shipments reached 3.9 million for the year, with 1.1 million units being sold in the fourth quarter. Compaq led the worldwide server market in 2000, with 27.1 per cent market share, down from 28 per cent in 1999. IBM came in second, with 16.7 per cent, down from 17.3 per cent a year ago.
Dell ranked third by shipping 573,000 servers last year and taking a 14.6 per cent market share. Although Hewlett Packard (HP) saw modest increase of 4.2 per cent, its share declined 11.2 per cent from 12.3 per cent in 1999. Sun's slice of the pie increased to 7.3 per cent, up from 5.2 per cent in 1999.
In the workstation market, Dell pushed ahead of Sun as it shipped 382,000 boxes, compared to Sun's 358,000 units sold. This enabled Dell to increase its share of the workstation market to 23.1 per cent of the market, up from 16 per cent in 1999. Sun's share rose slightly to 21.7 per cent.
HP fell to third place as the company continued its workstation decline, down7.2 per cent from 1999, with shipments of about 290,000 units. In fourth place was Compaq, which sold about 230,000 units, representing a growth rate of 10.6 per cent. IBM fell to fifth from fourth place, with 176,000 units sold, down 19.1 per cent from a year ago.
Dataquest said it believes that the recent introduction of Intel's Pentium 4 processor could boost the workstation market in the coming months.
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