Robust Recovery in Worldwide RDBMS Market, But Results Tempered by Currency Environment, IDC Reveals

FRAMINGHAM, MA – MARCH 7, 2005 – The worldwide market for relational database management systems (RDBMS) grew by 11.6% to $14.9 billion in 2004, according to preliminary figures released today by IDC. Although these numbers suggest a robust recovery for a market that has struggled over the past several years, IDC cautions that the picture is not as rosy as it seems. When currency exchange rates and downward pricing pressures are taken into consideration, the strength of the recovery is less clear.

"There is no question that the overall trend is favorable – companies are clearly spending again to meet their backlog of database management requirements," said Carl Olofson, research director for IDC's Information Management and Data Integration Software service. "However, if one takes into account the weakening of the U.S. dollar over the past year, the picture changes to less dramatic growth rates."

There were no changes among the top 5 RDBMS vendors from 2003 to 2004, with Oracle capturing top honors with 41.3% of the worldwide market. Oracle was followed by IBM and Microsoft with 30.6% and 13.4% market share, respectively. Rounding out the top 5 were Sybase and NCR Teradata, each with 3.1% market share. Microsoft experienced the strongest year-over-year growth on a percentage basis and Oracle the strongest growth on a whole dollar basis in 2004, while IBM and Sybase both grew slower than the overall market. However, all five top vendors grew their database business in 2004.

Moving into 2005, IDC expects the middle market to become the battleground for RDBMS dominance as Oracle and IBM move aggressively into the market while Microsoft, which currently dominates the middle market, prepares for the release of SQL Server 2005. Meanwhile, all the leading vendors will be working hard to head off any potential threats from open source RDBMS vendors.

The report, Worldwide RDBMS 2004 Vendor Shares: Preliminary Results for the Top 5 Vendors Show a Solid Boost (IDC #32969), examines the preliminary 2004 revenue data for the worldwide relational database management systems (RDBMS) software market and presents a view as to how the top 5 vendors, and the market overall, fared that year. A breakdown by geographic region is also included.

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