Vendor queries IBM's fall in Unix workstation market

IBM has fallen off the map in the New Zealand Unix workstation market, according to IDC, though this result is being questioned by one vendor. IDC positions Sun as the market leader, with 44.9% of total units sold and 40.5% by dollar value. Silicon Graphics is second, with 23.6% by unit and 29% by dollar; Digital is third with 8.5% by units and 12.2% by dollar; Hewlett-Packard fourth with 8.5% by unit and 10.7% by dollar.

IBM has fallen off the map in the New Zealand Unix workstation market, according to IDC, though this result is being questioned by one vendor.

"They've faded away, as has Intergraph," says researcher Logan Ringland.

IDC positions Sun as the market leader, with 44.9% of total units sold and 40.5% by dollar value. Silicon Graphics is second, with 23.6% by unit and 29% by dollar; Digital is third with 8.5% by units and 12.2% by dollar; Hewlett-Packard fourth with 8.5% by unit and 10.7% by dollar.

The rest of the market is made up of Intergraph and others.

Hewlett-Packard managing director Bob Cattell doesn't believe the figures. "Some of the numbers clearly don't stack up," he says. "We have 25% of the market by dollar value, and Sun is about the same. The rest is between Sequent, IBM, Digital and Silicon Graphics.

"IDC needs to get more qualitative approval of their surveys. Simply asking vendors what they sold is open to all sorts of abuse."

IDC's definition of a traditional work-station, in general, is that they feature a Unix or OpenVMS operating system, tightly coupled to a specific hardware platform and bundled by the hardware manufacturer. They include all workstations in which Unix is the primary operating system.

The personal workstation market represents the combination of PC economics with the functionality found in a traditional workstation. In general, this includes Windows NT on RISC or Intel-based platforms, and Unix variants on Intel-based platforms.

According to IDC, Windows NT is beginning to erode Unix domination of the New Zealand market. The researcher predicts that the traditional workstation market will be quickly captured by personal workstations. "The value of the overall market will experience a Windows NT, personal workstaion-driven increase in both revenue and units."

In 1997 there were 636 units shipped in New Zealand, IDC says, a decrease of 17.2% over 1996. 538 of these were traditional Unix workstations at a total value of $11.73 million; 98 were NT workstations worth $1.22 million.

The average price of a traditional Unix workstation was $21,800, and the average price of an NT workstation $12,560.

Worldwide, total workstation shipments grew 36.5% in 1997, or 1.9 million units, equating to a 9.7% increase in revenue. However, traditional workstations experienced a recession, and personal work-stations were up 80% in units and 88% in revenue.

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