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IDC: 2001 Thin Client Shipments Surpassed 1 Million Units

Economic downturns can be bright spots for certain industries. That appears to be partially the case with thin client computing.

Market research firm IDC on Wednesday published an enterprise thin client usage report, which found that thin clients passed the 1 million unit shipment mark worldwide in 2001 for the first time.

IDC predicts that thin client shipments will grow from the 1.09 million in 2001 to 1.4 million in 2002, and that the industry will enjoy a 30 percent compound annual shipment growth rate through 2006.

A 30 percent CAGR is down from the euphoric 60 percent CAGR predictions of a few years ago, but hardly anything to scoff at.

"Although prospects for future growth are revised downward to reflect more realistic market expectations, the opportunities for growth are still solid," Bob O'Donnell, IDC research director of device technology, said in a statement.

The U.S. market accounted for more than half of worldwide shipments in 2001.

Not all the news was rosy for the thin client industry. While shipments were up from 2000 to 2001, however, revenues were down. A decrease in average selling prices meant the value of the shipments fell 6.2 percent.

When it comes to thin clients, "W"s dominate. Wyse Technologies commanded 38.1 percent market share worldwide in shipments in 2001. Wyse officials note that when thin client sales are factored in from Hewlett-Packard, which sells Wyse thin clients under an OEM arrangement, the company has more than 50 percent of the market.

The other dominant "W" is Windows. Windows-based devices accounted for about three-quarters of the worldwide thin client market in 2001, a figure IDC expects to remain relatively constant through 2006.

About the Author

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