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IBM, Dell rise in servers while Sun, HP shrink

Big Blue and Dell saw revenue grow by more than 20 percent year over year in the first quarter, says Gartner. Sun and HP, meanwhile, saw annual revenue declines of 16.7 percent and 13.2 percent.

The server market is growing in the United States, but not for everyone.

IBM and Dell each saw server revenue grow by more than 20 percent in the first quarter compared with the same period a year ago, according to researcher Gartner.

The "other" category, made up of second-tier manufacturers, also did well, experiencing year-over-year revenue growth of 25.3 percent for the overall market and 71.9 percent for the Linux market--faster than the market as a whole. In most categories, the "other" group generally saw faster growth than nearly all the brand-name manufacturers.

Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard, meanwhile, experienced annual revenue declines of, respectively, 16.7 percent and 13.2 percent. Overall, U.S. server revenue grew by 7 percent during the quarter, according to Gartner.

Sun, in fact, got passed by Dell in overall market share as measured by revenue and dropped to No. 4 in the market. In the fourth quarter, Sun accounted for 13.4 percent of the server dollars spent in the United States and Dell accounted for 13 percent. In the first quarter, Sun's share declined to 11.6 percent while Dell's increased to 14.8 percent.

IBM remained the clear leader in servers overall in terms of revenue, according to Gartner. IBM's total U.S. server revenue came to $1.49 billion, an increase of 21.8 percent from the same period a year ago. In terms of the overall share of U.S. server revenue for the period, IBM's rose to 33.4 percent, a 4.1 percent increase over its revenue market share of 29.3 percent in the first quarter of 2003.

In Unix, IBM sold $461 million worth of Unix servers to account for 33.6 percent of Unix server dollars spent in the United States, up 9.1 percentage points from its market share of 23 percent a year ago.

IBM also saw revenue from Intel servers climb 37.2 percent to $322 million. Big Blue is actually smaller than both HP and Dell in this market by a wide margin but grew faster than both. Dell saw its revenue increase to $662 million, up 24.2 percent from a year ago. HP, meanwhile, saw revenue grow by 11 percent to $738 million. Still, the overall market grew by 24.5 percent, so both HP and Dell gave up some market share to IBM and second-tier manufacturers.

No. 2 HP pulled in $1 billion in server revenue for the quarter. Its overall market share declined from 28.1 percent to 22.8 percent, a 5.3 percent decline.

Still, HP scored a victory in Linux during the quarter. Revenue generated by Linux servers grew by 48 percent from a year ago to hit $234 million. HP is now just behind IBM, which saw Linux server revenue increase by 19.9 percent to $260 million. IBM, though, grew slower than the market, which meant that it gave up 5.2 points of market share while HP gained 1.7 percent in the Linux market as measured by revenue.

In terms of market share, Dell commanded 14.8 percent of all server dollars spent, 2 percent above its 12.8 percent in the same period a year before.

Dell was also the only large company that saw server revenue increase from the fourth quarter to the traditionally slower first quarter. Revenue grew 3.8 percent from the fourth to the first quarter. IBM saw sequential revenue decline by 7.3 percent, although its market share actually grew because both revenue at Sun and HP declined in double digits. Overall, the market grew slightly, sequentially.