The operating system market generated revenue of $30.4bn in 2010, with Linux and Mac OS experiencing the biggest growth in the server and client markets, according to new research from Gartner.
Mac OS was the fastest growing operating system in the client segment. Use of the Apple operating system grew by 15.8 per cent, generating $520m in 2010 fuelled by strong sales of Mac desktops and laptops, the Market Share Analysis: Operating System Software Worldwide 2010 report found.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux server licences revenue rose 18.6 per cent to $592m in 2010, taking a 58.2 per cent share of the Linux server market.
The substantial increase in licensing demonstrated that Linux has been accepted as a viable alternative to Unix and other proprietary operating systems in mission-critical environments, analysts said.
Unsurprisingly, Microsoft retained its monopoly with a market share of 78.6 per cent for 2010.
The Windows client business grew by 9.2 per cent compared with the Windows server business which increased by 7.5 per cent. Gartner put this down to a wave of PC refreshments after the economic downturn.
Windows 7 also gained acceptance as the successor to Vista and XP. Gartner predicted that XP will come to the end of its life in early 2014, and that migration of Windows 7 will be accelerated.
Meanwhile, IBM consolidated its place as the second largest global operating system provider with a 7.5 per cent share. IBM owns three operating systems, of which AIX had the highest growth at 9.2 per cent owing to the popularity of Power systems.
HP was third with 3.7 per cent, but revenue from Unix and other proprietary operating systems continued to decline owing to a discontinuation of Tru64 and a reduction in shipments of business-critical systems such as NonStop and OpenVMS, Gartner added.
Oracle fared slightly better, the company's Unbreakable Linux growing by almost 200 per cent in 2010.
"Generally, client operating systems outperformed server operating systems and grew 9.3 per cent in 2010, while the server operating system segment grew 5.7 per cent," said Matthew Cheung, a principal research analyst at Gartner.
"The long-pending demand for PC refreshment was unleashed as the economy stepped out from the economic downturn, which drove growth of client operating systems."
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