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The neck-and-neck horse race in servers changed in the first quarter as HP pulled slightly ahead of perennial leader IBM, according to the Gartner market research firm. Worldwide revenue grew 6% to $10.8 billion in the quarter versus the previous year's first quarter.
There was a slight disconnect between server units sold and server revenue, as units shipped gained 23% against the 6% rise in revenue. IBM's server revenue actually declined 2.1% even as its shipments jumped 16%.
The drop in IBM's market share may be explained by the fact that many customers are delaying orders because they expect IBM to unveil new product models soon.
HP's sterling results were also a signal that David Donatelli has made a smooth transition to the top service position at HP. Now HP's VP in charge of servers, Donatelli joined HP from EMC after a bruising exit in which he initially agreed to avoid working in HP's storage operation. He has said that all areas of HP's server, storage, and data center operations are experiencing demand.
HP recorded $3.39 billion in server revenue -- a gain of 15.9%. The jump gave HP a 31.5% market share position.
Gartner listed Dell in third place with $1.67 billion representing a 15.6% gain in market share. Dell's 36% revenue growth rate topped all of the leading server suppliers.
Disappointing numbers were posted by Oracle, which recently acquired Sun Microsystems and its aging server models. Gartner said Oracle/Sun unit shipments declined 29.5% and its revenue was down 39%.