Sun Remains on Top of the Unix-Based Workstation Market, Dell Emerges as Number One in NT Workstations in 1999, IDC Reports

FRAMINGHAM, MASS., FEBRUARY 22, 2000 — For the first time in several years, both Unix and Windows NT workstation shipments grew, according to IDC. In 1999, Unix shipments increased due to strong demand for entry-level systems for Internet development, especially in the United States. Windows NT shipments were strong but have cooled off from the rapid growth in 1997 and 1998 as the market started to reach maturity.

For 1999, total branded workstation shipments (Unix plus Windows NT) were 1.62 million units, up 14% from 1998. The Windows NT branded workstation market grew 23%, while the Unix workstation market was up about 2%.

Branded Windows NT Workstation Market

"The Windows NT workstation market had strong growth in 1999; however, the growth was less than in 1997 and 1998, when this market was still in its early stages of development. Migration from Unix-based systems, and the penetration of emerging vertical segments, such as DCC and GIS, will fuel future growth in this market," said Kara Yokley, analyst in the Workstations research group at IDC.

After a little more than two years in the workstation market, Dell has moved into the upper echelon of workstation vendors. Judicious investment in the major vertical application areas is paying off. It captured the number-one position in shipments of branded Windows NT workstations with 249,544 units worldwide and 25% market share. The company had impressive growth of 80% from 1998. Dell also was number one in the United States with 33% market share.

Hewlett-Packard dropped to second place worldwide this year, but remained number one in Europe. HP's unit shipments fell 25% from 1998, but still comprised 23% of the worldwide workstation market.

Compaq was number three in 1999 with 19% market share. A surge in the fourth quarter due to key initiatives targeting the MCAD market helped to boost Compaq's year-over-year growth 43%.

IBM, this year, had 15% market share in the Windows NT workstation market and had hefty growth of 59% over 1998. Strategic marketing in the CAD, GIS, and DCC markets drove this growth.

Unix Workstation Market

"In the traditional workstation market, the focus for most vendors has been on maintaining their existing customer base," said Tom Copeland, IDC's vice president of Workstation research. "Sun, however, is aggressively working to increase its business by tapping into new application segments. Sun's success in Internet development accounts has done much to slow the migration from Unix to Windows NT-based systems."

The traditional workstation market, which had been expected to decline with the growing strength of the NT market, had unit shipments that were up slightly from 1998 to 609,428. Combined, the top three vendors accounted for nearly 85% of the Unix workstation market. Sun, which grew 11% from 1998, captured 57% of the Unix workstation market and the number-one position in the Unix-based workstation market, shipping 349,040 units this year. Shipments of the Ultra 5 and Ultra 10 remained strong and drove much of Sun's volume. Ultra 5 sales were particularly strong in software development for the Internet.

Hewlett-Packard retained the number-two spot with 14.5% market share, and IBM came in third with 13% of the Unix workstation market.

Table 1

Top Vendors, Worldwide Branded Personal (Windows NT) Workstation Shipments, 1999

U.S. Shipments U.S. Market Share Worldwide Shipments Worldwide Market Share

Dell 165,011 33% 249,544 25%

HP 103,448 21% 230,138 23%

Compaq 84,137 17% 194,431 19%

IBM 64,881 13% 153,547 15%

Other 79,417 16% 179,823 18%

Total 496,894 100% 1,007,483 100%

Source: IDC, February 2000

Table 2

Top Vendors, Worldwide Traditional (Unix) Workstation Shipments, 1999

U.S. Shipments U.S. Market Share Worldwide Shipments Worldwide Market Share

Sun 197,463 66% 349,040 57%

HP 40,188 14% 88,375 14.5%

IBM 26,415 9% 76,645 13%

SGI 19,403 7% 41,218 7%

Compaq 8,147 3% 25,998 4%

Other 3,850 1% 28,152 4.5%

Total 295,466 100% 609,428 100%

Source: IDC, February 2000

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