IDC: Unix and Windows Server Market Revenues Equal for First Time

Factory revenues for Unix servers and Windows servers were equal for the first time ever in the first quarter of 2005, according to market researchers at IDC.

The value of new server systems shipping with Windows during the quarter hit $4.2 billion, equal to the value of new server systems shipping with Unix, IDC found in research published this month. Each platform accounted for 34.4 percent of overall factory revenue. Across all platforms, worldwide factory revenue reached $12.1 billion, up by 5.3 percent from the year-ago quarter.

The development caps a long trend of increasing Windows platform revenues against falling or nearly flat Unix sales. In the previous quarter, IDC called the two markets "essentially equal," with Unix sales good for $4.0 billion while Windows-based server sales amounted to $3.9 billion.

As they draw even, Windows is clearly in the passing lane. Windows-based server systems closed the quarter with 12.3 percent growth in revenues over the year-ago quarter. Unix sales were up 2.8 percent compared to the first quarter of 2004.

Windows servers are riding a larger trend for increasing sales of volume servers, according to IDC. The volume server segment is up 15.6 percent for the first three months of 2005 compared to the same period in 2004. IDC calls the segment the primary growth engine for the server market overall.

Linux continues to ride that volume server surge even faster than Windows. While overall revenues of Linux-based server systems, at $1.2 billion, lag well behind Windows and Unix systems, the pace of growth is much quicker. Linux server sales grew 35.2 percent compared to the year-ago quarter. That accounts for 10.3 percent of the market.

The go-go period for volume server revenues may be winding down, however. "Year-over-year unit shipment growth of 13.5 percent -- the lowest unit growth in two years -- reflects moderating unit growth in the volume server segment and more difficult annual comparisons," IDC notes.

About the Author

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