Hewlett-Packard Co., fresh from reports that it regained the spot as the top PC seller last year, retained its position as the No. 1 seller of servers globally, according to preliminary numbers released late last month by Gartner Dataquest.
That came even though the number of servers the Palo Alto, Calif., company sold dropped by 4.6 percent last year, to about 1.4 million. In comparison, Dell Computer Corp.—which lost the top PC slot to HP—saw the number of servers it sold last year jump 19.3 percent, from 713,653 in 2001 to 851,227.
Overall, more than 4.6 million servers were sold last year, a 4.2 percent rise over the more than 4.4 million sold in 2001, ac- cording to Gartner Dataquest, in San Jose, Calif. In the United States, sales totaled more than 1.9 million, a 13.8 percent jump over the 1.7 million sold in 2001, according to the research company. More than 506,000 were sold in the United States by HP; Dell sold 487,984.
Despite the increase in the number of units sold, server revenues worldwide remained relatively flat, suggesting that most of the increase is occurring among the lowest-cost servers, according to Gartner Dataquest.
The research company expects to release final U.S. numbers this week and final global numbers two weeks after that, said Gartner Dataquest analyst Shahin Naftchi. Revenue numbers also will be released at that time, Naftchi said.
Naftchi said HPs position had a lot to do with the smooth transition in its acquisition of Compaq Computer Corp. The two companies officially became one last May.
HP has been able to retain many of the customers that had been waiting to see how the merger played out. This was particularly true for users of servers built on Intel Corp. architectures that are designed to sell in high volumes, specifically NetServer users who made the move over to the ProLiant line, Naftchi said.
"Customers are gaining confidence in HP," Naftchi said.
Officials at HP said the ability of the companys servers to run a variety of operating systems—from Linux to Windows to Unix—offers the flexibility businesses need.
Dell, of Round Rock, Texas, attributed much of its success to a rapid rise in the sales of Intel-based servers, pointing out that it had added about 4,600 customers of its PowerEdge line of servers during the four quarters that ended Oct. 31, 2002. Many of these customers were migrating from Unix to Windows or Linux, officials said.
Both globally and in the United States, IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., came in third in server sales, followed by Sun Microsystems Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif.
Worldwide, Tokyo-based NEC Corp. came in fifth, with 103,521 servers sold. In the United States, Gateway Inc., of Poway, Calif., took the fifth spot, selling 18,000 servers. However, that represented a 30 percent drop compared with the 25,803 sold in 2001, according to Gartner Dataquest numbers.