Sales of network interface cards (NICs) grew 2% to $1bn in the second quarter of 1997, after a downturn in the first quarter, according to Arizona-based market analysts, In-Stat. The networking areas which drove positive revenue and unit growth in the NIC sector were fast Ethernet and token ring. Significantly, fast Ethernet NICs – which saw price reductions in early 1997 – represented the largest share in revenue, growing to a 38% share, from 29% in the first quarter. In unit shipment terms, Fast Ethernet NICs grew 38% over the first quarter, to gain a 36% share of shipments although Ethernet NIC shipments were ahead with a 51% share. In-Stat expects fast Ethernet NICs to outship Ethernet NICs in the third quarter. Networking giant, 3Com, maintained its leadership position in the overall NIC market with 41% of all shipments in the second quarter, and it was also the top vendor of fast Ethernet NICs, with a 42% market share in that segment. However, Intel is clearly providing the competition: while 3Com sold 1.5 million Fast Ethernet NICs, Intel, which is pushing Fast Ethernet on the motherboard, was not far behind with 1.2 million units
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