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U.S. server sales continue to rally

Sales of the machines hit $4.47 billion in the fourth quarter, a 5 percent increase compared with a year earlier, according to new research from Gartner.

Server sales in the United States climbed 5 percent in last year's fourth quarter compared with a year earlier, according to statistics released Friday by market researcher Gartner Dataquest.

Fourth-quarter sales of $4.47 billion marked an 11 percent increase from the third quarter and a 5 percent increase from the fourth quarter of 2001. Servers are heavy-duty computers built to process or store data on computer networks.

The top four server sellers--IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems and Dell Computer--stayed in the same positions from a year ago, although Sun lost 6.8 percentage points of market share, while Dell, HP and IBM all posted market share gains from a year earlier.

IBM had $1.45 billion in fourth-quarter revenue, up 7 percent from a year ago and 10 percent from the prior quarter. HP had $1.12 billion in revenue, up 11 percent from a year earlier and 23 percent from the third quarter. Sun's server revenue was $677 million, off 27 percent from a year earlier and 3 percent sequentially, while Dell had $531 million, up 37 percent from the fourth quarter of 2001 and 7 percent from the third quarter.

Other vendors accounted for $695 million in server sales, up 20 percent from a year ago and 12 percent from the third quarter.

Last month, Gartner released server data on unit shipments, which showed HP the leader for all of 2002 in terms of units shipped with a 30 percent share, followed by Dell with 19 percent of the market.

Gartner has also predicted that revenue from less-expensive Intel servers will surpass revenue from high-end Unix-based servers for the first time in 2003.

"The performance of the worldwide server market continues the growth pattern which began in the first quarter of 2002, suggesting that server shipments for the worldwide market may be stabilizing, but not showing signs of dramatic growth due to continued economic pressure in a number of regions," Gartner server analyst Shahin Naftchi said in a statement last month.