Dell Leads a Workstation Market in Decline

Dell remains the world's leading producer of workstation PCs, followed by HP. However, the entire workstation market is suffering as users in both the United States and overseas stay away from these high-end desktops during tough economic times. Intel's new Nehalem chip, however, could give the market a boost.

Dell continues to lead the global workstation market, but tough economic times means that revenues and the average selling price of these high-end PCs continues to fall as companies and individual users continue to hold off on hardware purchases.

On June 9, Jon Peddie Research released its latest report on the global workstation market and the results were less than admirable. In the first quarter of 2009, PC vendors shipped about 576,000 workstations worldwide, a year-over-year decline of about 27 percent. Unit shipments also declined about 25 percent from the fourth quarter of 2008 to the first quarter of 2009.

Workstation revenue also declined. In the first quarter of 2009, revenues stood at about $1.1 billion compared with the $1.9 billion in revenue the market saw in the first quarter of 2008. In addition, the ASP (average selling price) of workstations fell 7 percent sequentially between the fourth quarter of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009. ASPs also dropped about 17 percent year-over-year.

Overall, workstations represent only a small part of the overall PC market. However, the broader PC market is also suffering from lack of sales and declining ASPs. Right now, sales of netbooks or mini-notebooks are helping the market as users stay away from more expensive, full-sized laptops.

Dell continued to lead Hewlett-Packard when it comes to global workstation market share. In the first quarter of this year, Dell controlled 42 percent of the worldwide market, while HP's share stood at 37 percent. In the overall PC market, HP is still the top vendor.

The Peddie Research report did offer some glimmers of hope for the second quarter of 2009. The introduction of new Intel Nehalem processors, along with the Tylersburg chip set, at the beginning of the second quarter should help workstation sales as many businesses and users wait for the release of the new chips before buying PCs.

In addition, the report found that the market for professional graphics, such as GPUs from Nvidia and Advanced Micro Devices' ATI division, was flat quarter-over-quarter, which could mean the market has finally begun to stabilize despite the recession in the United States.