Worldwide server sales plummeted by over 17 percent in the third-quarter of 2009 compared to the same period last year, but that was actually a significant improvement compared to the second quarter of 2009, IDC said on Wednesday.
IDC, which Wednesday released its third quarter Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker, estimated worldwide server sales to be $10.4 billion, which is 17.3 percent lower than sales in the third quarter of 2008.
IDC's estimate of the drop in server sales was close to the estimate published on Monday by rival analyst firm Gartner, which said third quarter worldwide server sales fell 15.5 percent year-over-year to $10.7 billion.
One particularly bright spot in the server market was blade servers, where total sales actually grew 1.2 percent over last year to $1.4 billion, or 13.6 percent of total server sales. This was despite a 14 percent drop in shipments, IDC said. HP had a 50.7 percent share of blade server sales, followed by IBM with a 29.4 percent share and Dell with an 8.9 percent share.
While the fall in third quarter server sales is significant, it is actually noticeably better than the estimated year-over-year drop of 30.1 percent, IDC said.
IBM was the top server vendor during the third quarter with sales of $3.3 billion, giving the company a 31.8 percent share of the market. It was followed by Hewlett-Packard, which had server sales of about $3.2 billion. The 12.9 percent drop in IBM sales over last year compared to HP's 16.8 percent drop let IBM take the lead from HP, which was the top vendor in the third quarter of 2008, IDC said.
They were followed by Dell, which saw its server sales fall 6.8 percent to $1.4 billion; Sun, which saw its server sales fall 35 percent to $778 million; and Fujitsu, whose server sales dropped 8.2 percent to $594 million, IDC said.
Sales of servers priced under $25,000 dropped 14.7 percent during the quarter, compared to a 23.4 percent drop in sales of midrange servers and a 19.3 percent drop in sales of servers costing $250,000 or more.
Sales of servers running the Microsoft Windows operating system hit $4.5 billion during the third quarter, which was down 12.8 percent compared to last year. Linux-based server sales fell 12.6 percent, while Unix-based servers fell 23.4 percent, IDC said.
x86-based servers did the best when looked at by architecture, with sales falling only 12.3 percent compared to last year.