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Gartner: Database Market Contracted in 2002, SQL Server Grew

New research on the database market from Gartner on Wednesday quantifies in yet another area the case for arguing that 2002 was the worst year yet for IT. But the research also supports another trend -- no matter how bad things got, Microsoft kept growing and churning out profits.

The new license software revenues for worldwide relational database management systems fell by 7 percent from 2001 to 2002 -- winding up at $6.6 billion from $7.1 billion the year before.

"Along with many of the other IT markets, the RDBMS markets are feeling the pressures of reduced IT spending," Gartner analyst Colleen Graham said in a statement.

IBM's revenue dropped by nearly 1 percent to $2.4 billion, still good for the overall market share lead at 36.2 percent.

Oracle had a horrible year, with a 20 percent drop in revenues to less than $2.2 billion. That saw the onetime database king fall to second place in revenues to IBM with 33.9 percent share. Oracle still maintains its market share lead (43 percent) in the RDBMS market on Unix and Windows combined, because IBM's strength in mainframe database systems is no longer a factor. However, in the Windows segment alone, Oracle finally ceded its No. 1 position to SQL Server in 2001, according to Gartner.

Microsoft, on the other hand, enjoyed growing revenue and market share. The company's SQL Server database had revenue growth of nearly 17 percent to almost $1.2 billion from $1 billion in 2001. Microsoft's market share rose from 14.3 percent of the overall market in 2001 to 18 percent in 2002.

"[Microsoft] continued to benefit from cost-conscious enterprises and from a product that has improved its scalability capabilities," according to Gartner.

NCR, which markets the Teradata RDBMS, also grew revenues, although the vendor's revenues come on a much smaller scale than IBM's, Oracle's or Microsoft's. NCR grew 7 percent to $181 million in revenues for 2002. The company's overall market share is 2.7 percent.

IBM, Oracle, Microsoft and NCR accounted for almost 91 percent of the RDBMS market in 2002.

About the Author

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

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