IDC Expects Worldwide Thin Clients to Weigh in at Over 1 Million in 2000

FRAMINGHAM, MASS., MARCH 8, 2000 — The worldwide thin client market is quickly growing fat. IDC expects shipments to weigh in at almost 1.3 million by yearend 2000, 80% heavier than at the start of the year — and that's after a 90% increase in 1999.

"The worldwide enterprise thin client market is experiencing powerful growth," said Eileen O'Brien, director of IDC's Enterprise Thin Clients research program. "Many factors are expected to drive the increase in growth, most importantly, the integration of Terminal Server in Windows 2000. Terminal Server becoming an integrated part of Windows 2000 is a definitive renewal by Microsoft of the company's commitment to the thin client approach to computing. Windows 2000 Terminal Services provides an effective and reliable way to distribute Windows-based applications to thin clients via a thin client architecture or server-based computing approach. Additional technology developments such as Linux, Embedded NT, wireless networking, and flat panels will also help stimulate the market's growth."

Currently, three vendors — Wyse, IBM, and NCD — have a stronghold on the overall market. Together, they accounted for more than 70% of the worldwide 1999 unit shipments. Wyse leads the market with almost 38%, followed by IBM and NCD, who are tied at 16.5%.

Windows-based-terminal-like devices currently dominate the market, accounting for more than 70% of shipments in 1999. However, IDC expects they will see increased competition from Linux-based thin clients.

"Many Linux thin clients were brought to market late in 1999 and early this year," O'Brien said. "Their presence should bring the level of competition up a notch." IBM, Neoware, Netier, Addonics, Maxspeed, and Compaq all offer Linux thin clients. "Nevertheless, it is obvious that the applications people want to use today in enterprises are Windows applications, but Linux alternatives could develop."

IDC recently published 1999 Enterprise Thin Client Market (IDC #B21697). This bulletin looks at worldwide demand for enterprise thin clients. It compares 1998 and 1999 shipments by vendor in the overall market and presents 1999 data for the Windows-based terminal and other client segments. The bulletin analyzes key market trends and discusses vendors' 1999 performances and positioning. Market accelerators and inhibitors are discussed, and a shipment, average selling price, and value forecast is presented through 2004. To order a copy of the bulletin, contact Patrick Steeves at 1-800-343-4952, ext. 6787 or at

About IDC

IDC delivers dependable, relevant, and high-impact data and insight on information technology to help organizations make sound business and technology decisions. IDC forecasts worldwide IT markets and technology trends and analyzes IT products and vendors, using a combination of rigorous primary research and in-depth competitive analysis. IDC is committed to providing global research with local content through more than 500 analysts in 43 countries worldwide. IDC's customers comprise the world's leading IT suppliers, IT organizations, and the financial community. Additional information can be found at

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

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