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Database Market Report: Microsoft Finally Master of Own Domain

For years, Microsoft Corp. ranked second after Oracle Corp. for database revenues on Microsoft's own operating platform – Windows NT.

In 2000, Microsoft squeaked past Oracle on the platform for the first time, according to data released Wednesday by GartnerGroup's Dataquest research unit.

Microsoft rode the booming Windows server platform, which is growing twice as fast as the Unix-based database sector, into a slightly larger share of overall database revenues, which Oracle still leads.

IBM Corp. is close on everybody's heels, chasing Microsoft on the Windows platform and Oracle on the Unix platform.

"The 2000 market share numbers reinforce Gartner's view that, despite the market consolidation, the DBMS market share wars are far from over," noted Gartner analyst Betsy Burton in a prepared statement. "IBM, Microsoft and Oracle will continue to battle for DBMS market dominance."

The big three database vendors accounted for 79 percent of all database software revenue in 2000, the Dataquest report shows. Database software revenues grew by 10 percent over 1999 revenues to $8.8 billion. There was a slowdown in growth compared with the 18 percent revenue increase between 1998 and 1999.

Microsoft grew its Windows NT platform revenues by 45 percent. Microsoft released Windows 2000 Server and SQL Server 2000 during the calendar year. However, much of the growth probably reflects Microsoft's concentrated efforts to capture Windows platform database revenues that began in earnest with the release of SQL Server 7.0 in late 1998.

Microsoft's lead over Oracle on the Windows NT platform is less than a percentage point. Microsoft's share is 38 percent. Oracle owns 37.3 percent.

IBM grew its Windows NT platform revenues by a whopping 63 percent to end up with an 18.5 percent market share.

Across all platforms, the market share rankings break down as follows: Oracle 33.8 percent, IBM 30.1 percent, Microsoft 14.9 percent, Sybase 3.2 percent, Informix 3.0 percent, others 15 percent.

IBM recently acquired Informix, and if the company can sustain its growth and keep the Informix customer base happy, IBM could pose a serious threat to Oracle's dominance this year.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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