Double-digit decline for servers

Following a trend set in the PC and mobile markets, server makers are also being hit hard by the struggling global economy, according to statistics from Gartner.

A double-digit falloff in the fourth quarter hit shipments and revenue, with global shipments slipping 11.7 per cent and revenue diving 15.1 per cent in the fourth quarter. Strong results at the beginning of the year helped keep shipments for the year positive, at 2.6 per cent growth, but full-year revenue still fell 4.1 per cent.

The worst revenue decline was seen in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), at 20.6 per cent, while North America marked falls of 14.6 per cent.

"The outlook for 2009 is a very challenging one, with the pattern of the fourth quarter more indicative for the level of demand in 2009 than that seen in 2008 as a whole," Kota said.

"The continued weak economic environment will cause users to be extremely cautious with levels of expenditure which will make for a particularly challenging environment for vendors," Kota added. "The server market already has high levels of vendor consolidation but the conditions expected during 2009 will increase the threat of further consolidation."

Despite the declines, blade servers saw revenue and shipment growth of 30 per cent, boosting the leaders in those systems, HP and IBM. "Blade servers were one of the few segments to achieve any growth at all in this challenging environment," said Kota. "Unix servers on the other hand fell for the fourth quarter at 10.5 per cent in shipments and 13.7 per cent in revenue for the year."

For the fourth quarter, despite diving 17.4 per cent, IBM held on to top place by revenue with 34.4 per cent of the market, followed by HP at 28.8 per cent and Dell at 10.2 per cent. By shipments, HP fell just 1.6 per cent to hold the market lead at 29 per cent, followed by Dell at 20.6 per cent and IBM with just 15.4 per cent, after its shipments fell 22.3 per.

NEC, Lenovo and Dawning were the only top ten server makers which did not see any decline in shipments.