Worldwide server shipments rose in Q3, but revenue fell, Gartner says

Server shipments declined in Japan and EMEA but grew in the Americas and Asia-Pacific

Worldwide server shipments went up in the third quarter of 2012, but revenue from those sales dropped due to economic uncertainty in some parts of the world, research firm Gartner said in a study released on Wednesday.

Server shipments totaled 2.46 million units in the third quarter, growing by 3.6% compared with the same quarter last year. Server sales dropped year over year by 2.8% to $12.6 billion.

Growth was buoyed by x86 servers, with shipments growing by 4.3% year over year and sales growing by 4%. Unix server shipments declined by 31.1%, with revenue falling by 16.4%. Gartner refers to all servers powered by certain high-end processors, such as Intel's Itanium, Oracle's Solaris or IBM's Power, as Unix servers.

Overall shipments declined in Japan and EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Asia), while there was growth in the Americas and Asia-Pacific, Gartner said.

Of the top three server vendors, Hewlett-Packard and IBM registered declines in revenue and shipments, while Dell had a healthy quarter with numbers growing by both measurements.

HP topped the charts in server shipments but suffered an 8.4% decline to 634,793 units, logging a 25.8% market share. Dell inched closer to the top spot, with shipments growing by 9% to 564,475 units, achieving 23% market share. Third-place IBM's shipments dropped by 2.5% to 280,424 units, giving it an 11.4% market share.

IBM led in server revenue, with sales totaling $3.48 billion, dropping by 9.5%, for a 27.6% market share. HP, in second place, recorded a 12.4% drop in revenue to total $3.33 billion, a 26.4% market share. Dell's server revenue grew by 10.3% to $2.1 billion, a 16.7% market share.

Dell showed strength in small and medium businesses as well as very large enterprises, said Jeffrey Hewitt, research vice president at Gartner.

"They are scaling into the hyperscale market," with a customer base that includes Microsoft, and all that adds up to large volume shipments, Hewitt said.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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