The server market expanded 7.3% in Q1 2004 to $11.5 bln as business buying pushed the market to its fourth consecutive quarter of growth, according to IDC. Shipments climbed a strong 22.4% from a year ago, and machines running the freeware software Linux sprinted ahead by 56.9% in dollar sales. IBM remained the largest vendor during the period with 29.7% of the market, followed by HP, which saw its share decline modestly to 26.9% from 27.9%.
Sun and Dell ended nearly tied for third place. Sun had sales of $1.17 bln and Dell's sales came to $1.13 bln. The data also show the increasing popularity of low-cost servers running chips with the Intel-compatible, or x86, design from Intel and AMD. Factory sales were up 14.1%. IDC says Linux servers benefited from this trend. Factory sales topped $900 mln, and shipments were up 46.4%. Servers running Windows software from Microsoft advanced 16.4% to $3.8 bln in the quarter, with shipments rising 26.5%. Windows servers made up 33.7% of the market. Even so, more expensive IBM mainframes also did well, with revenue increasing $33.7%, IDC says. Sales of servers running Unix declined 3% in Q1.