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NT erodes Unix workstations

The Windows NT operating system has taken another chunk of the Unix workstation market, an industry watcher reports.

The Windows NT operating system has taken another bite of the Unix workstation market, according to a Dataquest report released today.

Unix-based workstations grew 10 percent in the first quarter over a year ago, while Windows NT-based workstations soared by 242 percent.

But Windows NT still has a way to go to capture a sizable share of the overall workstation market. Windows NT represented 23.6 percent of the 259,612 units shipped in the quarter and 12.4 percent of the $3.5 billion in revenues generated in the industry, according to Dataquest.

That assessment comes on the heels of a workstation report released last week by International Data Corporation, which found Hewlett-Packard (HWP) had barely edged out Compaq Computer (CPQ) as the leading "personal workstation" manufacturer last year.

IDC reported worldwide shipments of the computers grew 37 percent for all of 1996, according to a final report.

Personal workstations generally use Intel Pentium Pro processors and run Windows NT, while traditional workstations run Unix and use RISC processors.

The worldwide market revenues for traditional workstations declined by 8 percent to $11.2 billion during 1996. This is in contrast to the 31 percent growth in market revenue in the personal workstation market.

But although more personal workstations were shipped than traditional workstations in 1996, personal workstations generated only $3.8 billion in revenues.

"The biggest story is that HP and Compaq are neck and neck. HP has expertise in the workstation market already [from selling Unix systems]. Compaq has to build that expertise," said Keren Seymour, an analyst with IDC.

Hewlett-Packard shipped 96,000 personal workstations worldwide for an 11.6 percent market share, while Compaq shipped 92,300 systems for 11.2 percent. Digital (DEC), the third-place vendor, shipped 55,000 systems in 1996.

Compaq's latest workstations "are there to compete on performance as well as price. This shows they are really serious about the market," Seymour said. (See related story)

IDC says it included only vendors that had established a marketing and distribution strategy for these products, which excluded IBM from the list. IBM officially announced in March that it would begin selling Intel-based workstations after previously only offering workstations based on the PowerPC processor.

Dawn Yoshitake contributed to this report