Database Market Grows in Europe

Even as the worldwide market shrank, a list of vendors led by IBM saw a modest uptick in Europe.

The European database management systems market grew feebly in 2002, at a rate of 1.4 percent, according to a new report from Gartner Dataquest.

But at least it grew. In contrast, the worldwide figure for new license revenue for database systems shrank by 6 percent during the same period, according to the analyst firm. The total revenue for the European market came in at $2.9 billion in 2002.

The top five database vendors kept the same ranking in Europe for 2002. Only minor changes in market share occurred. Altogether, IBM, Oracle Corp. and Microsoft Corp., traditionally the three largest database vendors, retained more than 85 percent of the European market share.

At No. 1, IBM had 41.2 percent of the European market. Oracle had 28.1 percent. Microsoft had 17.1 percent. NCR Corp. came in with 1.8 percent, and Sybase Inc. retained 1.7 percent.

While IBM is still the market-share boss, Microsoft is picking up steam, having grown its market share by 13.7 percent over year-ago figures. Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner attributes this success to the lower price of SQL Server. IBM is staying strong thanks in part to its focus on the mainframe market, which contributed to the companys 2.6 percent market growth as companies continued to use IBMs legacy hardware.

Meanwhile, Oracle slipped in both market share and new-license revenues in Europe. Its market share fell from 29.2 percent in 2001, while its new-license revenue fell to $829.1 million, down from $847.3 million in 2001.

RDBMS (relational database management systems) accounted for 78 percent of the overall DBMS market. Object database systems accounted for 1 percent, and pre-relational databases took up 21 percent of the overall market. The RDBMS segment was at a standstill, with only 0.7 percent growth for the year. That compares with 9.1 percent growth in 2001. Meanwhile, IBM and Oracle, the RDBMS behemoths, posted declines of about 2 percent for RDBMS new-license revenue.

Although the overall DBMS market is stagnant, platform change brews within it. Unix is losing its grip on the position of primary platform: a change that Gartner credits to both the fall in new-license revenue and a successive increase in spending on DBMS for the Windows Server platform. z/OS is still a popular platform choice, while spending on iSeries/400 RDBMS systems is slipping.

Although the European DBMS market fared relatively well compared with that of North America, Gartner cautioned that economic slowdown in key markets such as France and Germany will limit growth during 2003. The analyst firm projected that a significant improvement wouldnt come until mid-2004 at the earliest.