IDC Expects Worldwide Shipments of Enterprise Thin Clients to Explode to Over 6 Million by 2003

FRAMINGHAM, Mass., April 29, 1999 — Worldwide shipments of enterprise thin clients will jump 87% from 369,000 in 1998 to 1.2 million in 1999. By 2003, they will top 6 million, according to International Data Corporation (IDC).

"This market is poised for strong growth as a result of recent price reductions to Microsoft's Windows Terminal Server," said Eileen O'Brien, director of IDC's Enterprise Thin Clients research program. "The industry now has an affordable enterprise-class multiuser operating system that supports enterprise thin clients. This should spark adoption of server-based computing and thin clients throughout enterprises now and in the future." Other factors that will contribute to the market's growth include Y2K issues and the emergence of application service providers.

IDC describes enterprise thin clients as emerging desktop technologies that compete with PCs and traditional terminals for enterprise real estate. They are known as thin because they focus more on application access than application processing and as a result have smaller operating systems than PCs. IDC currently classifies thin clients into two categories: network computers and Windows-based terminals.

According to IDC, the United States will account for 81% of all thin clients shipped worldwide in 1999. "The thin client market is new, and we believe it will be tested and marketed in the United States," O'Brien explained. The U.S. share will drop to 60% by 2003 as the need for more cost-effective desktops develops throughout the world and the international infrastructure to support thin clients strengthens. IDC believes thin clients have a chance of eventually being very popular in developing areas such as Latin America.

Wyse is the vendor to beat in the worldwide enterprise thin client market. In 1998, it accounted for 32% of shipments. "Wyse will be a tough company to unseat," O'Brien said. "To succeed in this market, vendors must have a variety of products, a strong indirect distribution channel, solid partners, and adequate financial resources. Wyse has all of these things." Currently, the only companies that could provide Wyse with a bit of competition are IBM and NCD/Tektronix.

Review and Forecast of the Worldwide Enterprise Thin-Client Market (IDC #B18829) reviews the 1998 worldwide market and provides a forecast through 2003. Vendor market shares are provided for 1997 and 1998 for the overall market as well as for its different segments. Market trends are discussed and potential forecast accelerators and inhibitors are provided. To order a copy of the bulletin, contact Sue Beauregard at 1-800-343-4952, ext. 4774 or at

About IDC

International Data Corporation is the information technology industry's most comprehensive resource on worldwide IT markets, trends, products, vendors, and geographies. IDC provides data, analysis, and advisory services to the world's leading IT suppliers as well as IS professionals in finance, insurance, entertainment, advertising, consumer goods, and publishing. IDC's research and opinions are based on the results of more than 300,000 end-user surveys, in-depth competitive analysis, broad technology coverage, and strategic analysis. IDC is committed to providing global research with local content through its 500 analysts in more than 40 countries worldwide. Additional information on IDC can be found on its Web site at

IDC is a division of International Data Group, the world's leading IT media, research, and exposition company.

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