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IDC: 2001 a bad year for most, a good year for Microsoft

IDC has done some monetary math for 2001 server and client operating environment sales. Let's just say -- the year was a wash for most companies, but a winner for Microsoft.

Last year was tough for both enterprises and purveyors of server operating environments (OEs), but Microsoft managed to stretch its lead on both client and server OEs despite the dragging economy.

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  • A report from International Data Corp., a Framingham, Mass., research firm, said that in terms of the overall operating environment, license shipments in 2001 were up just less than 1% in terms of revenue. Most of the growth came from new client license revenue, which grew 3.8%. Server operating environments declined to just below 1%.

    That's the big picture. The smaller picture paints a rosy landscape in Redmond, Wash.

    Microsoft's revenue and unit growth are up significantly. While the rest of the market remained flat or fell, Microsoft's own share of server operating environment shipments grew from just under 42% to almost 49%. Microsoft client operating environments were up from 92% to 93%.

    "Microsoft basically propped up the market," said Al Gillen, research director for IDC's system software research. Gillen said the numbers might be attributed in part to Microsoft's licensing programs as well as transitions from older Microsoft platforms to current products.

    Most of the market declines in terms of units shipped and revenues came from Unix. Linux itself wasn't a drag on the industry but didn't add to the growth of the industry, Gillen said.

    Gillen said that IDC had forecasted some recovery in the second half of 2002. The company is still expecting a slight recovery, but it has reduced expectations.

    "We are still expecting the industry to resume some form of growth by the end of this year," he said.

    The IDC study also looks at forecasts through 2006. Microsoft and Linux are expected to be the brightest stars through that period. "None of the other players are expected to fall off the map, but we are not expecting the Unix or [Novell] Netware markets to grow," he said.

    IDC said that of the 5.7 new license shipments gained in the server operating environment during 2001, Linux had a 25.7% share, NetWare had a 11.7% share, and the combined Unix had a 11.6% share. Other products accounted for 2%. Microsoft owned the rest.

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