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Analyst: Microsoft Shares OLAP Market Lead in 2001

In just two years since exploding onto the Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) market with SQL Server 7.0 OLAP Services, Microsoft already shares the No. 1 position in market share with Hyperion Solutions, according to an analyst report.

The same report, from OLAP Report analyst Nigel Pendse, projects that Microsoft will easily overtake Hyperion for sole ownership of the No. 1 spot in 2002.

Microsoft did not sell an OLAP server prior to the launch of SQL Server 7.0. Technically, Redmond still doesn't because it bundles the OLAP server for free with licenses of its SQL Server database. That licensing choice shook up a market where vendors were accustomed to charging tens of thousands of dollars for the database-analysis products.

Microsoft continued the free bundling of the OLAP server with SQL Server 2000, calling it SQL Server 2000 Analysis Services. The addition of data mining functionality to the OLAP server justified the name change.

Microsoft's meteoric rise has seen it jump from nowhere in 1998 to fifth place in 1999 to third place in 2000 to a tie for first in 2001. The 2001 figures are preliminary. Microsoft passed Cognos on its way to the top spot in 2001, the OLAP Report found.

Between 2000 and 2001, Microsoft's OLAP market revenues almost doubled, Pendse found. Interestingly, the report notes that many Oracle and DB2 sites buy SQL Server purely for Analysis Services, which Pendse calls much more functional that the OLAP Services technology in SQL Server 7.0.

"In license fee terms alone, which are the best indication of new sales, Microsoft was the clear leader in 2001, and it is of course growing much faster than any other major OLAP vendor (in fact, several of the others shrank in 2001)," the report states.

Hyperion, which has held the No. 1 position since 1997, saw flat revenues and falling market share in 2001. "There is little doubt that Hyperion will fall well behind Microsoft in 2002," the report states.

About the Author

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