With Unix sales from rivals HP and Sun slipping, IBM was the top vendor in the $US49 billion worldwide server market in 2004, according to research released by Gartner.
Fuelled by strong sales of systems based on IBM's Power 5 processor, the company's Unix sales grew by 7 per cent year-over-year to $4.3 billion, Gartner found. Sales of IBM servers based on Intel's x86 instruction set totalled $US4.2 billion, up 22.4 per cent from 2003.
IBM's x86 growth rate was faster even than that of Dell, which sold $US4.8 billion worth of x86 servers in 2004, up 19.6 per cent from its year-earlier numbers.
In addition to having strong Power 5 sales, IBM also was one of the more successful vendors of servers based on Intel's 64-bit Xeon processors, Gartner analyst, Mike McLaughlin, said. The company also posted respectable growth with its zSeries line of mainframe computers.
With $US16.1 billion in sales, Big Blue was the number one server vendor, overall, in 2004, he said.
HP ($US13.4 billion) was second and Sun was third ($US5.2 billion).
IBM's server sales were 9.3 per cent higher than its 2003 total, which meant that the company's revenue was growing faster than the server market as a whole. Server sales grew by 7.2 per cent in 2004.
Though IBM outsold it in the fourth quarter, Sun retained its position as the number one Unix vendor for the year as a whole. Sun had $US5.1 billion in revenue, but sales were down 7.1 per cent from 2003 numbers, Gartner said. HP's Unix business dropped by 9.9 per cent during 2004, totalling $US4.9 billion for the year.
IBM was the top server vendor in the last quarter of 2004, Gartner found, with $US5.1 billion in sales for the quarter. HP was second ($US3.9 billion), followed by Sun ($US$1.4 billion) and Dell ($US1.3 billion) worth of systems, respectively, during the period.