IDC: Unix Market Flat from Q1, Workstation Market Hurt by RAM Shortages

Total branded workstation shipments - Unix and Windows NT - dropped 409,123 units, or 4 percent, in the second quarter, according to industry analysts IDC. The branded Windows NT workstation market fell 7 percent, while the Unix workstation market was up about 3 percent.

Since most vendors shipping NT-based systems are entering the third quarter with substantial backlogs, barring huge memory shortages, IDC ( believes that growth should be good during the second half of the year.

For the first quarter in over a year, shipments in the personal workstation market declined, largely due to memory supply constraints. With the memory market expected to experience further shortages, workstation vendors could continue to be affected.

"The second quarter was difficult for most personal workstation vendors, who struggled with RDRAM shortages while trying to meet customer demand," said Kara Yokley, an analyst in IDC's Workstations research group.

Dell Computer Corp. (, which was the sold vendor with an RDRAM-only strategy in Q2, was mostly unaffected by memory shortages. It captured the top position in shipments of branded Windows NT workstations with 93,000 units worldwide and 34 percent market share. Dell's shipments of workstations grew 8 percent from the previous quarter, and the company was also number one in the U.S. with a 43 percent market share.

Compaq Computer Corp. ( was in second place in Q2 with a 20 percent share in the branded personal workstation market. It remains the leader in economic and financial accounts, where its midrange systems have found great success.

Hewlett-Packard Co. ( slipped to third place in Q2, its Kayak line suffering due to Intel Corp.'s ( recall of the 820/SDRAM chipset. Despite Kayak's difficulties, HP's NT Visualize workstations, which do not utilize the 820 chipset, had significant growth from the first quarter. HP captured 17 percent of the worldwide personal workstation market in the second quarter.

IBM Corp. ( had 14 percent market share in the Windows NT workstation market, growing 29 percent from the previous quarter.

Shipments of Unix workstations grew 3 percent from the first quarter. The combined shipments of the top three vendors accounted for over 88 percent of the Unix workstation market. Sun Microsystems Inc. (, which grew 7 percent over the first quarter and shipped over 84,000 systems, remained on top of the traditional workstation space. With sales of its Ultra 5 and Ultra 10 growing, Sun captured 60 percent of the Unix workstation market.

IBM and HP were effectively tied for second place in the Unix workstation market, each with approximately 14 percent of the market. - Isaac Slepner

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.