IBM pulled ahead of BEA Systems in 2002 to gain leadership in the J2EE application server market, according to new research from Gartner Dataquest.
In the latest report from the research firm, Vice President and Research Director Joanne Correia said that last year IBM walked away with 37 percent of J2EE application server market share, with BEA dropping to second place with 29 percent.
In 2001, BEA had 34 percent market share, while IBM had 31 percent, Gartner Dataquest reported.
>> IBM was No. 1 in the portal space at 30.8% vs. BEA at 8%.
>> IBM (80.5%) also lead the message-oriented middleware market over Sun (4.9%).
"The tight horse race that started in 2000 between IBM and BEA was won in 2002 by IBM," Correia said.
But an analyst at the Giga subsidiary of Forrester Research said it's nearly impossible to track application-server license sales accurately because, aside from BEA, companies such as IBM and Oracle don't break out application server sales from their larger software numbers.
John Rymer, a research vice president at Giga, said he didn't break out application server market share in his April report on the market because "the numbers are opaque.
"There's no way to know [accurate market share]," Rymer said. "You have to guess based on information [the companies] provide to you."
It's also difficult to gauge license sales vs. actual use of the product because some companies, including Oracle, IBM and Sun Microsystems, bundle their application servers for free with other software or hardware products, conceding that IBM is doing a lot of business in the Java software market, Rymer said.
BEA WebLogic and IBM WebSphere are the leading products for developing enterprise Java applications, but it's not evident which product is used more, solution providers said.
BEA remains a favorite in the application server space and continues to do solid business with customers, said Adam Farrell, a regional sales director at Semaphore Partners, a San Francisco-based solution provider. "From what I understand, they're rocking on sales and closing a lot of deals," he said.
But IBM is the market-share leader with other components of the Java enterprise application platform, which include the application server along with integration and portal software, according to the Gartner Dataquest report. IBM landed the No. 1 position in the portal space with 30.8 percent of the market, followed by BEA with 8 percent and Oracle with 3.7 percent.
IBM also was the leader in message-oriented middleware, with 80.8 percent of the market, according to Gartner Dataquest. Sun ONE and Tibco's middleware nearly tied for second place, with Sun taking a 4.9 percent share of the market and Tibco claiming 4.8 percent market share.