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February 1, 1998

MORE NT BEANS, FEWER UNIX, AND LESS BIG IRON

By CBR Staff Writer

Keeping up the pretense of hiding secrets from the competition, vendors tend to keep their unit shipment numbers from public scrutiny. But they gamely dish out ‘guidance’ to analysts which in turn empty their bean jars periodically and write long and expensive reports about how many of each color they can count. Vendors use the reports to write glowing press releases about how many boxes or licenses they have shifted. Makes sense right? Because then you can read headlines about Hewlett-Packard Co trouncing Sun Microsystems Inc in workstations based upon information which comes from an unbiased source. In fact Sun outsold HP more than two-to-one on Unix workstations while HP dominated sales of NT ‘personal workstations,’ which are surely a different kind of bean then. Last year Sun sold 285,815 Unix workstations, down 3.3% on 292,000 in 1996. That’s 43% of the 664,686 Unix workstations sold in the year, down 7% on 1996’s total. HP’s unit Unix workstation sales sank 20% from 134,995 in 1996 to 108,865 in 1997, some 16% of the total. Silicon Graphics Inc and IBM Corp Unix workstation unit ships were described by IDC as faltering. No wonder HP’s majoring on its NT plays. HP shifted 222,394 or 17.2% of the 1.3m NT workstations sold last year, up from 96,000 in 1996. The NT workstation market grew 80% over 1996 in unit terms. Compaq Computer Corp had 15.5% of the market and Dell Computer Corp 9.9%. Meantime, the market for high end servers which cost $1m or more declined by 4% to $16.94bn in 1997 from $17.67bn in 1996 according to IDC.

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