Desktop OS Sales Outpace Servers in 2010; IBM i Shows Growth
May 9, 2011 Timothy Prickett Morgan
It doesn’t take any insight at all to figure out who is the largest operating system supplier in the world. It is Microsoft, of course. But who is number two, three, and four? And who is the fastest growing maker of operating systems? The answers might surprise you.
Through the magic of the acquisition of Sun Microsystems last January, Oracle was able to grow its operating system revenues by 7,683 percent, to $780 million, making it the fastest grower. Of course, Oracle had only a tiny OS business, selling a clone of Red Hat‘s Enterprise Linux. Gartner said that year-on-year, Solaris revenues fell by 3.2 percent between 2009 and 2010. Oracle’s Unbreakable Linux had almost 200 percent growth in 2010, showing that having your own integrated stack can indeed pay off.
The fastest real growth in operating sales in 2010 came from–you guessed it–not Apple, but Red Hat. The commercial Linux distributor grew its operating system revenues by 18 percent, to $610 million last year, and Apple did almost as well, with 15.8 percent growth to $520 million. Almost all of Red Hat’s operating system sales are on servers–in 2010, that was $592 million, up 18.5 percent–while almost all of Apple’s are on PCs, tablets, and smartphones. (Or iMacs, Macbooks, iPads, and iPhones, if you speak Jobsish.) Red Hat had a 58.2 percent share of Linux operating system sales (which is all support revenue, of course).
IBM, you no doubt already figured out, was the number two provider of operating systems in 2010, with $2.28 billion in revenues, up only 5.6 percent. Gartner said that sales of AIX rose by 9.2 percent in 2010, while IBM i rose only 2.7 percent.
IBM was considerably ahead of Hewlett-Packard, with $1.13 billion in revenues and an increase of only 1.4 percent compared to 2009. HP-UX had 3.7 percent growth last year, but Tru64, OpenVMS, and NonStop.
Other vendors together had another $1.18 billion in sales and shrank 39.9 percent.
That, of course, leaves Microsoft, with its $23.85 billion in operating system sales in 2010, up 8.8 percent and giving the Giant of Redmond a 78.6 percent share of the market and nearly another point of market share than it had in 2009. Gartner did not say how the Windows stack broke down PC versus server, but did say that the upgrade cycle from Windows XP to Windows 7 helped Microsoft fuel 9.2 percent operating system growth in 2010, while server-related OS sales rose 7.5 percent.
Across all operating system types, server operating systems saw a 5.7 percent bump, while desktop OS revenues rose 9.3 percent.