Windows Increases Lead in Server Unit Sales

So, what to do with this. If we don’t run it, we’re pro-Linux. If we do run it, we’re pro-Microsoft. And I’m sure that whatever we do, we’re anti-Apple somehow. In any case, here we go: the latest market share figures from IDC about servers show that Windows is by far the most popular server operating system in terms of unit sales, increasing its market share even further. Linux, on the other hand, saw its market share in the server market sink a little.

I don’t really know what to make of these figures, but alas, let’s just get them out there. In the first quarter of 2010, Windows had a 75.3% market share in terms of units sold, up from 73.9% in the fourth quarter of 2009. Linux dropped slightly from 21.8% in the fourth quarter of 2009 to 20.8% in the first quarter of 2010. UNIX dropped from 4.4% to 3.6%.

When you look at the revenue side of things, the situation is even better for Windows, and also quite good for Linux.

  • Microsoft Windows server demand was positively impacted by the accelerating x86 server market, as hardware revenue increased 33.6% and unit shipments increased 28.3% year over year. Quarterly revenue of $5.1 billion for Windows servers represented 48.9% of overall quarterly factory revenue. This is the highest percentage of server hardware revenue that Windows servers have ever represented.
  • Linux server demand also improved sharply in 1Q10, with revenue growing 20.4% to $1.7 billion when compared with the first quarter of 2009. Linux servers now represent 16.2% of all server revenue, up 2.1 points over 1Q09.

Architecture-wise, non-x86 systems are taking heavy hits. “The market for non-x86 servers, including servers based on RISC, EPIC, and CISC processors, declined 25.9% year over year to $3.6 billion in 1Q10,” IDC writes, “This is the fourth consecutive quarter that non-x86 servers have been outperformed in the market by x86 servers.”

There are a few qualifying notes here. The big one is this: these figures only account for servers sold with software pre-installed, and completely ignore servers where software has been installed manually. If there was some way to include those as well, I’m sure Linux would see a big boost.

What these figures do show is that despite the usual deriding remarks people make about Windows, Microsoft’s products are simply doing very, very well in the server space. Windows Server 2003, 2008, and 2008 R2 have all been received very well, and it seems like sales figures confirm this.

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