BEA still top of app server market, but IBM close behind
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The battle for supremacy in the application server space is hotting up with IBM inching ever closer to its aim of knocking BEA Systems from the top slot.

According to figures from International Data Corporation, the application server market will reach a compound annual growth rate of 14.7 percent from 2001 through 2006, when IDC expects the market as a whole to be worth $4.4 billion.

BEA retained its top position in 2001, with 24.8 per cent of the market - based on software and maintenance revenue figures - up from 18 per cent. Its revenue grew by 38.9 per cent. IBM captured 23 per cent of the market, up from 15.4 per cent in 2000, while its revenue grew by 50 per cent.

With 12.1 percent of the market, Oracle came in a distant third, displacing Sun Microsystems. Oracle’s app server revenue grew by 56.1 per cent. Sun ended the year with 7.9 per cent of the market.

But Sun plans to fight back. As reported last month, it this week released a new application server which it will bundle free with a dramatic upgrade of its operating system, Solaris. BEA seems most vulnerable to this manoeuvre since the majority of its sales come from the Solaris platform.

Sun’s decision to bundle its app server is the latest in a increasing line of companies to do so. Microsoft decided to give away its application server with Windows 2000, while last year HP followed its lead.

Gartner, which bases its number only on software sales, also put BEA at the top with 34 per cent of the market, up from 33 per cent. IBM followed closely with 31 per cent, up from 22 per cent and a 71 per cent growth in revenue compared with BEA's 23 per cent revenue growth.


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