HP's Still On Top Of Server Heap

Jan 23, 2003 (07:01 PM EST)

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The number of servers shipped worldwide last year grew 4.2% from 2001, with Hewlett-Packard holding on to the No. 1 spot, according to preliminary figures released Friday.

Of the top five suppliers of the high-powered computers, only Dell Computer (No. 2) and Sun Microsystems (No. 4) increased market share, Dataquest, a unit of high-tech research firm Gartner, reported. Rounding out the top five are No. 3 IBM and No. 5 NEC Corp.

Server shipments increased to 4.6 million units from 4.2 million in 2001. The numbers show that the global market is stabilizing but isn't poised for any dramatic increases, Dataquest says.

The U.S. server market led other regions, increasing 13.8% to 1.9 million units from 1.7 million. However, a less-than-equivalent spurt in revenue indicates that customers bought inexpensive models. This trend favored Dell, which increased market share by 22.2% in the United States and 19.3% globally. Sun grew its share by 15.9% domestically and 6.7% worldwide.

The European, Middle Eastern, and African markets ended in the black following a pickup in demand in the last weeks of December. However, competitive pricing helped hold down revenue. The Asia-Pacific region also showed shipment growth, but constant travel advisories to many of the key markets because of security issues slowed business activity in general. The Latin America server market failed to grow because of the region's severe economic conditions.

HP saw its worldwide market share drop 4.6%; it shipped 1.38 million units last year, compared with 1.45 million in 2001. Its overall share went to 30.1% from 32.8%. In the United States, it remained on top, but its market share dropped to 26% from 28.3%. That included shipments by Compaq, which merged with HP last year.

Dell increased market share globally to 18.5% from 16.1%, and to 25% from 23.3% in the United States. IBM shipments fell to 14.3% of the global market from 15.1%, and to 11.6% from 12.7% in the United States. Sun moved up slightly, to 6% from 5.9% globally, and to 7.4% from 7.2% in the United States.

NEC held the No. 5 spot globally with 2.2% of the market, down from 2.4% in 2001. But Gateway was fifth in the United States, dropping to 0.9% of the market from 1.5%.

Dataquest plans to have final numbers available later in the quarter.