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x86 server sales drop to lowest level for six years

Paul Kunert

The Olympics may be over but the x86 servers segment is creating a number of its own world records as sales growth of the platform slowed to their lowest level for 23 quarters.

IDC second quarter data showed that while worldwide factory revenues grew 6.4% in the server market to $13.9bn, sales of enterprise systems outshone other platforms with an increase of 22.1%

"The refresh cycle that we are currently seeing in the mid-range and high-end segments is part of the IT transformation cycle that is continuing," said Jean Bozman, research vice president at IDC's Enterprise Platforms Group.

This was somewhat dampened by 3% rise in x86 sales to $7bn, the slowest growth rate since the third quarter of 2002 and the first time since the fourth quarter of 2000 that non-x86 revenue outpaced x86.

Unit shipments in the volume server market grew 12.4% and IDC said all vendors exhibited strong unit growth but there has been "significant price competition throughout the quarter," revealed Jed Scaramella, senior research analyst.

Other than pricing pressure, factors that affected x86 revenues included vendors' launch of new systems targeting large scale data centres said the research firm.

Like rival research firm Gartner, IDC also placed IBM at the top of the pack in terms of value. Big Blue grew factory revenues 13.8% to hold 33.2% market share. HP came second with revenue growth of 3.1% and 27.4% market share.

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