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Dataquest: HP Gained Lead in IA-32 Server Shipments in Merger Quarter

Hewlett-Packard Co., which was supposed to be plagued by merger-related malaise and confusion in the second quarter of the calendar year, instead roared through the quarter in terms of U.S. server sales, according to a study by Gartner's Dataquest market research arm. The Gartner Dataquest numbers show HP-Compaq reclaimed the U.S. industry-standard server shipment lead from Dell Computer Corp.

HP executives pointed to the numbers as evidence that the HP-Compaq merger is getting off on the right foot. A Dell spokesman portrayed the quarterly result as an anomaly in a long-running trend of increasing market share for Dell and added that a similar report due out soon from rival market researchers at IDC will show that Dell retained the No. 1 spot in the second calendar quarter of 2002.

"We've executed very well through the merger," says David Petts, general manager for HP industry standard servers. The two computer giants completed their controversial merger in May 2002, which falls in the period that Dataquest studied in its quarterly report.

HP positions the numbers as evidence of solid execution as the sharks were circling.

"The substory is, obviously we announced as part of the merger, the [HP] NetServers were going to be end of lifed with the last shipment in October. We had a short window of time to transition those customers. We wanted them to stay with HP, meaning the ProLiant family," Petts said referring to Compaq's well-known server brand. "Clearly, in that period, Dell and IBM and others were wanting to seize on that opportunity."

HP and Compaq combined accounted for 28.7 percent market share in the second quarter, up from 27.2 percent when the two companies shipments in the first quarter are added together, according to Dataquest figures released by HP.

By contrast Dell went from 28.2 percent market share in Q1 to 26.7 percent in Q2. Overall the market grew from 387,000 unit shipments to 432,000 unit shipments, allowing both companies to grow their shipment numbers even though Dell lost share.

A Dell spokesman offered a different perspective on the Dataquest numbers, which he noted were "preliminary."

Dell prepared a chart, based on IDC data, from 1997 through the first quarter of 2002. It shows Dell steadily gaining market share from a little over 10 percent to over 30 percent in Q1 2002. Lumping HP and Compaq together over the same period shows a drop in market share from around 50 percent in 1997 to just under 30 percent in Q1 2002. IBM's share hovered in the low teens and high single digits throughout the period.

"It is not uncommon to see market share changes from quarter-to-quarter, due to business seasonality of vendors that ship into the PC channel. The overall trend is what's most important, which shows that an increasing number of customers are choosing Dell as their preferred provider of Intel-based servers," the spokesman said.

About the Author

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

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