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Report: Oracle pulls into tie with IBM in databases

With Linux pushing its fortunes, Oracle scales to the database peak, Gartner report says.

In the race to sell database software worldwide, Oracle improved its position to a "virtual tie" with IBM last year, according to a report by researcher Gartner.

Oracle claimed 34.1 percent of the overall market for relational database software, with IBM lording over 33.7 percent--a finish the report considered a dead heat. According to Gartner analysts, the difference between the two vendors was less than $30 million. Microsoft came in third, with a 20 percent share.

"Oracle saw strong growth of nearly 15 percent, much of it coming from its performance on the Linux platform," Gartner principal analyst Colleen Graham said in a statement. On the other hand, much of IBM?s growth came from its DB2 database on the zSeries mainframe servers and also DB2 sales on the Unix platform, which grew by nearly 9 percent.

Revenue for all companies from new license sales rose to $7.8 billion in 2004, the report said, an increase of 10.3 percent over 2003's $7.1 billion.

Unix continues to be the most popular database platform, but its share shrunk by 0.7 percent in 2004. Oracle dominates the Unix server software market with approximately 56 percent of new license revenue. Sales of databases on Windows were $3.1 billion, an increase of about 10 percent from 2003. Microsoft accounts for 51 percent of share in this segment.

The tag of fastest-growing segment is reserved for Linux-based databases, which grew a whopping 118 percent. The new license revenue accrued from the Linux segment was approximately $655 million in 2004, up from $300 million the previous year. Oracle rules the market with 80.5 percent market share.