Increased corporate spending and seasonal growth pushed worldwide shipments of server computers to 1.6 million in the final quarter of 2003, up 24.5 per cent from the year-earlier period, according to research released by Gartner's Dataquest division.
All the main vendors increased their shipments in the quarter, which was the fourth consecutive quarter of double-digit growth for server shipments. However, market leader Hewlett-Packard (HP) did lose some market share as rivals Dell and IBM, ranked second and third in the market, respectively, increased their share.
In the last quarter of 2002, HP held a 29.9 per cent share of the market with 382,616 units shipped. In the fourth quarter of 2003, HP shipped 461,615 servers, good for a 29 per cent share, Dataquest said. In the same periods, Dell's market share grew from 19.2 per cent to 20 per cent and IBM's share went from 15.4 per cent to 17.2 per cent, Dataquest said.
HP leads the market worldwide and is also the number one vendor in terms of unit shipments in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), the Asia-Pacific region (excluding Japan) and Latin America. In the US and Japan, Dell leads the market, while IBM is number one in Canada, according to Dataquest.
The largest chunk of the 1,591,166 worldwide shipments in the fourth quarter of 2003 was in the US (653,365 units shipped). The EMEA region was the second biggest market (527,216 units), followed by Asia-Pacific, excluding Japan, (197,496 units), Dataquest said.
Most of the server demand was still for lower-priced systems using x86-compatible processors such as those manufactured by Intel, Dataquest said. However, the third quarter in 2003 was the first quarter of growth in two years for servers based on reduced instruction set computer (RISC) chips, and this trend might continue, Dataquest said.
Sun, a large vendor of RISC-based systems, shipped 83,833 servers in the fourth quarter of 2003, up from 62,914 the year before and good for a market share increase from 4.9 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2002 to 5.3 per cent in 2003, according to Dataquest. Sun, which came in fourth in unit sales, also sells x86-compatible servers.