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U.S. Unix-server market drags

The U.S. market shrunk by about 2 percent because of a slowing economy, says market researcher Dataquest, but Sun and Dell didn't seem to notice.

The first quarter was a rocky one for Unix servers, as the U.S. market shrunk by about 2 percent because of a slowing economy, according to a survey by market researcher Dataquest.

But despite the contracting market, Sun Microsystems and Dell Computer managed to eke out double-digit growth, while IBM stayed its course with sales remaining basically the same.

The large gains of Dell and Sun came at the expense of Hewlett-Packard and Compaq Computer, however: Both companies saw double-digit drops in growth, according to Dataquest analyst Shahin Naftchi.

Naftchi said Sun captured the top spot in Unix-server market share, with 45 percent of the U.S. pie. It shipped 30,663 units in the quarter. IBM, which grabbed 23 percent of the market, sold 15,775 units. Meanwhile, Dell came out of nowhere to capture 18 percent of the market, with 12,171 units, according to Dataquest.

Because the Linux operating system is a derivative of Unix and doesn't sell enough units to demand its own category, Dataquest lumped it in with Unix for this market-share survey. Dell doesn't sell servers with the Unix operating system pre-installed.

HP and Compaq garnered only 11 percent of the market combined. HP held a 9 percent stake, while Compaq captured only 2 percent market share, according to the Dataquest figures.