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Poor sales of non-industry standard servers combined with a weak European market made a soft fourth quarter the cap to a full-year of lackluster server sales for 2012, according to new reports from analyst firms Gartner and IDC.
Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner this week estimated that server vendors shipped 2.5 million servers in the fourth quarter of 2012, down 0.2 percent compared to 2011 server shipments. However, increased average selling prices meant that total revenue for the quarter was up 5.1 percent over last year to reach $14.6 billion.
For all of 2012, shipments grew 1.5 percent over 2011 to reach 9.7 million units, bringing server vendors a total of $52.5 billion revenue, down 0.6 percent over last year, Gartner estimated.
The Gartner server revenue estimates tracked closely with those of rival analyst firm, Framingham, Mass.-based IDC, although the two companies had significantly different shipment estimated.
IDC this week said server shipments in the fourth quarter fell 3.9 percent over last year to 2.1 million units, while revenue from those shipments rose 3.1 percent to reach $14.6 billion.
Full-year 2012 server shipments were down 1.5 percent over 2011 to 8.1 million units, causing total revenue for those servers to fall 1.9 percent to $51.3 billion, IDC estimated.
The list of the top five server vendors in terms of revenue was the same for both Gartner and IDC.
Gartner said IBM sold $5.1 billion in servers in the fourth quarter, up 8.9 percent over last year. It was followed by Hewlett-Packard, which saw revenue drop 3.3 percent over last year; Dell, which saw revenue rise 1.2 percent; Oracle, which suffered an 18 percent drop; and Fujitsu, which enjoyed an 8.6 percent rise.
For the entire year, IBM was the server revenue king despite a 3.2 percent drop in revenue to $15.6 billion. HP came in at No. 2 with a 7.6 percent drop in revenue. They were followed by Dell, which saw revenue for the year rise 3.6 percent; Oracle, whose revenue fell 16.3 percent; and Fujitsu, which enjoyed a 14.8 percent rise in revenue.
For the fourth quarter of 2012, IDC estimated IBM's revenue at $5.3 billion, up 3.1 percent over that of the fourth quarter of 2011. It was followed by HP, which saw revenue fall 3.2 percent; Dell, which had a 5.7 percent increase; Oracle, whose revenue fell 17.8 percent; and Fujitsu, which had a 5.3 percent rise.