Latest figures from IDC confirm that IBM is gaining ground in the server market, beating off the once all-powerful Sun Microsystems, Hewlett Packard (HP) and Compaq.
Big Blue's server revenue has increased from $3bn a year to more than $3.2bn, an increase of 5.3 per cent, as it captured nearly a quarter of the market.
Although the company does not control as much as a potentially merged HP and Compaq, it is gaining on the pair. According to Peter Condyck, senior analyst at US-based Strategy Solutions, even if the proposed merger takes place, the company is likely to be thrown into confusion for at least a year and in no shape to take on Big Blue.
"IBM has done well because, unlike Sun, it ignored the internet as a sales channel and did not work directly with customers," Condyck said. "As a result it has a very effective and loyal channel that does not feel that it is being competed against."
According to IDC the server market has shrunk by 16.2 per cent, the biggest decline for more than five years.
Vernon Turner, IDC's vice president of servers, said: "Even though we knew the server market would be affected by the economic situation we did not expect a decline of this magnitude."
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