Database Sales Rebound in 2003

After a dip in 2002, DBMS revenues rose in 2003, market researchers say.

Sales of database software are back on the rise according to top market research firms, but revenue growth in 2003 was not explosive.

International Data Corp. and Gartner Dataquest in recently released reports pegged annual growth in overall DBMS (database management system) revenues at 7.6 percent and 5.1 percent, respectively. However, both firms said that a portion of that growth was the result of a strong European currency and a weak U.S. dollar, which is the currency on which the results are based.

IDC, of Framingham, Mass., said in a report issued late last week that total revenues for relational- and object-DBMSes in 2003 was almost $13.6 billion. That followed a slight decline in overall revenues in 2002. Gartner, of Stamford, Conn., also saw a decline in 2002 sales and an uptick in 2003. Using a different reporting methodology, Gartner said in a report issued late last month that new RDBMS revenues were $7.1 billion last year.

When it comes to identifying the top DBMS developers most observers agree that Oracle Corp. and IBM hold the top two spots. But Gartner and IDC didnt agree on which vendor was supreme. IDC said Oracle, of Redwood Shores, Calif., with $5.4 billion in database revenues in 2003, held 39.8 percent of the market and first place. IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., had about $4.3 billion in DBMS revenue in 2003, or 31.3 percent.

IDC said that Oracle database revenues grew 8.6 percent in 2003 while IBMs grew 5.5 percent.

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Gartner, on the other had, said that IBM held 35.7 percent of the DBMS market in 2003 with sales of $2.5 billion. The research firm said Oracle held 33.4 percent of the market with about $2.3 billion in sales. Gartner put IBMs annual growth in 2003 at 4.9 percent (despite a big decline in sales of Informix products), and said that Oracle sales grew 2.4 percent. The researcher attributed some of the overall growth to enterprises need to build up their data management and reporting capabilities to meet the demands of regulatory compliance and general business intelligence needs.

IDC said IBMs numbers remained strong because of strong sales of its DB2 software for the mainframe. The firm pointed out that while sales of Microsofts SQL Server continued to outpace the industry average, their growth was slowing down as that DBMS matured.

Both IDC and Gartner agreed that Microsoft held a firm grip on third place, with IDC reporting the Redmond, Wash., company had 12.1 percent of the market and Gartner reporting Microsofts market share at 17.7 percent.

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