May 21, 2003 9:14 AM PDT

Microsoft makes gains in database arena

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Microsoft gained ground on its database rivals in 2002, despite a decline in sales for the market as a whole, according to research published Wednesday by Gartner Dataquest.

Corporate belt-tightening of information technology dollars took its toll on the $6.6 billion relational database market last year, which saw revenue from new licenses decline $495 million, or nearly 7 percent, according to the study.

Microsoft took third place in 2002 for databases that run on Windows and Unix, having almost 23 percent of that category. The software giant boosted its position to 18 percent of the overall database market, a dramatic 17 percent rise from 2001.

Microsoft's strong performance last year was helped by growing cost-consciousness among database software buyers and the improved scalability of its SQL Server database, Gartner Dataquest analysts said in a note published with the report. Microsoft's database software runs on Intel-based servers, which in general are less expensive than high-end Unix servers.

Oracle, which has long held the top spot for worldwide database market share, as measured by new license sales, lost its lead to IBM, the study showed. Though Oracle sold the most databases that run on Windows and Unix operating systems, strong sales of IBM's DB2 database for its zSeries mainframe servers thrust Big Blue into the No. 1 position, according to the study.

In 2002, IBM's share of new license revenue for all databases climbed to 36 percent, from 34 percent in 2001. Oracle's total market share, as measured by new license sales, slipped from nearly 40 percent in 2001 to almost 34 percent in 2002. Gartner Dataquest attributed Oracle's decline to its 20 percent drop in new license sales.

Oracle's share for databases that run on Windows and Unix (which includes Linux) is at 42 percent, compared with IBM's 24 percent share.

NCR had the fourth-place position with 2.7 percent of market share, while the rest of the market's database providers collectively had a 7 percent market share.

 

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