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IDC: Microsoft's Share of OS Market Huge -- And Growing

Recent market research from IDC paints a picture of Microsoft marching inexorably to a much greater share of operating environment revenues -- both client and server -- over the next few years.

The market share for Windows servers will grow through 2005, but Redmond's server operating systems won't attain a "dominant" position in that time by IDC's standards.

"We're going to see almost a doubling of Windows operating environments revenues between 2000 and 2005," says IDC analyst Al Gillen.

During 2000, all Windows operating environments and subsystem sales from Microsoft and third-party suppliers captured 50 percent of the industry revenue total for client, server and host operating environments, according to IDC. By 2005, the percentage of that pie attributable to Microsoft operating environments will top 66 percent, IDC says.

The only other operating environment projected to show significant revenue growth over the same period is Linux, although Gillen notes that in a market valued at $18 billion in 2000, the Linux revenues only amount to "a couple $100 million."

Much of Microsoft's revenue growth for the period is expected to come from the higher per-client price of Windows XP.

"Windows is expected to dominate the field of client operating environments through 2005," says Dan Kusnetzky, vice president of IDC's system software.

IDC defines "dominant" as holding more than 50 percent of market share or more than twice the share of the next closest competitor.

By that standard, IDC does not expect Microsoft's Windows servers to dominate by 2005.

"Windows 2000 and Windows .NET Server will help Microsoft extend its lead, but these products will not achieve a dominant position in the industry by shipments or revenues," Kusnetzky says.

Spurred by the release of Windows 2000 in February 2000, Microsoft did realize a server market share gain in 2000 after stagnating between 1998 and 1999 as the industry waited for Microsoft to replace the aging Windows NT 4.0.

Windows servers went from a 37 percent share of the market by license shipments in 1998 and 1999 to a 41 percent share in 2000, according to IDC estimates.

Other platforms' license shipment market share, according to IDC, are Linux, 27 percent; NetWare, 13.8 percent; and all Unix, 13.9 percent.

About the Author

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

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