IDC: Oracle tops IBM in database market

IDC: Oracle tops IBM in database market

Despite fast growth by Microsoft's SQL Server, Oracle kept building on its dominance of the database market last year, according to preliminary figures released on Wednesday by IDC.

Oracle Database generated US$7.3 billion in sales in 2006, giving the Californian-based vendor 44.4 percent of the $16.5 billion global market. "Oracle continued to glide along in first place, bolstered by apparently broad acceptance of the 10g R2 release and the success of key options," IDC analyst Carl Olofson wrote in a report.

IBM, primarily through its DB2 database, generated $3.5 billion in sales. While that was up 11.9 percent from 2005, IBM failed to keep pace with Oracle's 14.7 percent growth, which also outpaced the overall market's 14.3 percent rate of year-over-year growth. IBM's share fell slightly, from 21.6 percent in 2005 to 21.2 percent last year.

Third-place Microsoft enjoyed the fastest rate of growth, 25 percent, giving it a total of $3.1 billion in sales. It held 18.6 percent of the market at year's end.

Fourth-place Sybase Inc. and fifth-place NCR Teradata, which NCR Corp. announced in January would be spun off as an independent company, also grew, albeit at a pace slower than the market as a whole.

Vendors in IDC's 'other' categories -- which include Mysql, Postgresql and Ingres -- rang up $1.6 billion in sales last year but saw their collective revenue share of the market fall from 10.7 percent to 9.9 percent.

IDC noted that the revenue figures include core products but not the features vendors sell as separate options. That can make apples-to-apples comparisons difficult. Also, IDC did not break out maintenance and subscription revenue, which accounts for the "substantial majority" of sales. High maintenance and subscription revenue can mask the growth rate in database licence sales by each vendor, which in turn can boost maintenance and subscription revenues in future years.

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