More than a third of global licensing revenues for database software in 2000 went into Oracle's coffers, but rivals IBM and Microsoft both increased sales and market share, according to a new report.
Overall, global licence revenues for database management software (DBMS) increased by 10 per cent to $8.8bn, compared with an increase of 18 per cent in 1999.
Databases, critical both for businesses and for Oracle's financial health, have become a battleground between Oracle, IBM and Microsoft, and research firm Gartner predicts that the war for market share is by no means over.
In 2000, market leader Oracle increased its share from 31.4 to 33.8 per cent, according to Gartner, extending its lead over IBM from 1.5 to 3.7 percentage points.
IBM's share crept up from 29.9 to 30.1 per cent, while third place Microsoft improved from 13.1 to 14.9 per cent. Sybase managed 3.2 per cent. Smaller vendors accounted for a total of 15 per cent of the market.
However, if IBM can keep its 'bought-for-a-billion' Informix customers, some three per cent of the market in 2000, then it is already breathing down Oracle's neck for market leadership in 2001.
Betsy Burton, a director at Gartner, commented: "The 2000 market share numbers reinforce Gartner's view that, despite the market consolidation, the DBMS market share wars are far from over.
"IBM, Microsoft and Oracle will continue to battle for DBMS market dominance, with the major influencing factors being independent software vendors and applications support, pricing, depth of operating system platform support and DBMS scalability."
Burton also predicted that Oracle could lose its market leadership when Gartner reports on sales for 2001. Although Oracle continues to dominate the Unix market it has lost ground elsewhere.
For the first time, Microsoft overtook Oracle in its own back yard - that of databases running on Windows NT - with a share of 38 per cent to Oracle's 37.3 per cent. That sector increased revenues by over a third, despite the overall increase of just 10 per cent.
Oracle customers have also been angered by changes to licensing rules introduced last year, as vnunet.com reported here.
However, Oracle begins shipping its new Oracle 9i database next month, which the company says is more powerful, more reliable and will claw back any lost ground.
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