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Black hole swallows EMEA server revenues

Decline and Fall

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The box counters at IDC gave their prognosis for the global server racket a few weeks ago, pointing to the worst sales quarter in terms of year-on-year declines, in the firm's history of tracking such numbers. If you were expecting some good news concerning server sales out of Europe, forget it.

By IDC's reckoning, server sales in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa fell 35.8 per cent to $2.91bn in the second quarter, and is very far below the revenue peak of $5.4bn set in the fourth quarter of 1997. The slump was a little bit worse than Q2 server sales when measured at the global level, which IDC reckons fell by 30.1 per cent to $9.8bn.

The steeper decline is due in large part to the collapse of formerly fast-growing markets in Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, which have not begun coming out of recession yet and which have stopped buying servers. Taken together, these regions had a 37.5 per cent drop in sales and a 44.3 per cent decline in shipments.

Central and Eastern Europe, which was booming not so long ago, accounted for only 46,000 server sales in Q2, and sales fell a stunning 45.6 per cent to $283.4m. And the numbers were only that high, said IDC, because a couple of large deals that didn't close in Q1 managed to close in Q2.

Schlumpety schlump

The x64 server market helped prop up the biz in EMEA overall, with a decline of only 33 per cent, to $1.5bn. But in Central and Eastern Europe, x64 server sales fell a staggering 54.6 per cent compared to a 30.8 per cent for all other kinds of servers (CISC mainframe, RISC, and Itanium) lumped together as sold in the region. When a market is relatively small, a few big deals can skew the figures, obviously.

Across the entire EMEA region, IDC believes that Itanium-based server sales accounted for $250m (mostly with the Hewlett-Packard label on them), and that Power-based servers (mostly from IBM with a smattering from Bull) accounted for $400m in sales. IBM's mainframe business fell a gut-wrenching 46.7 per cent in EMEA, which offset any gains Big Blue made peddling Power-AIX boxes. Only 7.7 per cent of sales and two per cent of shipments were for non-x64 machinery in Q2 in the EMEA region.

By vendor, HP was the revenue leader in EMEA, with $985.5m in sales, down 37.1 per cent. IDC believes that HP's ProLiant x64 server business (including rack, towers, and blade form factors) accounted for around $700m. HP lost revenue share, and number two IBM gained it, falling on 32.8 per cent to garner $919m in sales.

Sun Microsystems paralleled HP's fall, with a 37.8 per cent decline in EMEA server sales to $359.1m, and IDC reckons that x64 servers made up around $250m of that. Dell, with a much sunnier 29.9 per cent decline, to $296.6m, gained nearly a point of market share. (All of its machines use x64 chips.) Fujitsu accounted for $168.3m in the second quarter, down 39.7 per cent; the company's Primergy x64 server line (which includes blades, racks, and towers) accounted for $98.1m in sales. ®

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