Shipments have declined on a worldwide basis since the third quarter of last year. While just about every segment of the tech industry has suffered from the slowing economy, the effects have been somewhat muted for workstations--heavy-duty systems used for computing-intensive projects such as graphics applications or statistical analysis--because the sales cycle is fairly long and it takes longer for slowdowns in orders to catch up with workstation vendors.
Analysts said shipments could begin to pick up again in the current quarter.
They said that while purchases were delayed in the first half of the year, new orders will have to be placed soon. The segment could also get a boost from military and government customers, who have been beefing up purchases in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Overall, workstation vendors shipped 346,846 units in the third quarter, down from 417,276 in the year-ago quarter. Dell had the largest portion of the market, grabbing 33.4 percent of shipments, up from 23.8 percent a year ago. IBM, the No. 4 vendor, also saw its market share rise, from 10 percent a year ago to 13.3 percent this year.
Sun Microsystems, the second largest vendor, saw its market share plunge from 23 percent a year ago to 18 percent this year, while Hewlett-Packard, the fifth largest vendor, saw its share decline from 17 percent a year ago to 10.7 percent this year. Compaq Computer, the No. 3 vendor, had essentially flat market share at roughly 14 percent.
Dataquest analyst Serena Hsu speculated that once the final numbers are in, Dell will be the leading vendor in both unit shipments and dollar figures.