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Gartner: IT services grew marginally in 2004

Of the top six providers, Accenture shows the strongest growth, while Fujitsu suffers because of a weak economic recovery in Japan.

The global market for IT services climbed to $607.8 billion in 2004, up from $569.6 billion in the prior year, according to early estimates released Tuesday by Gartner.

The change represents growth of 6.7 percent, the market research company said. However, when the continued slide in the value of the U.S. dollar is accounted for, worldwide growth was only about 2.2 percent, Gartner analysts said.

IBM, with 7.6 percent share of the global market, retained its top position. Electronic Data Systems was in second place with 3.4 percent market share, not much changed from its share in 2003.

Fujitsu had share of 2.8 percent, while Accenture, Computer Sciences and Hewlett-Packard each had share of 2.3 percent. But Accenture showed the strongest growth among the top six providers, with its revenue increasing 16.4 percent, Gartner said.

Fujitsu gained from growth in its outsourcing business in Africa, Europe and the Middle East, but suffered because of a weak economic recovery in Japan and because of the company's restructuring efforts, the market researcher said.

"Outsourcing was the growth driver for IBM and HP in 2004, while Accenture experienced equivalent increases in both the outsourcing and consulting segments," Kathryn Hale, principal analyst in Gartner's IT services group, said in a statement. "Computer Sciences and EDS each have a strong concentration of revenue in the United States, which impacted global growth for both companies in a year the dollar declined."