A new IDC report shows that in 2005 servers with the Windows OS generated sales of $17.7 billion worldwide, which barely edged out long-time revenue king UNIX, which was at $17.5 billion. It was the first time Windows has ever held the top spot in server revenue and it was the first time UNIX has been knocked out of the lead in over a decade. Another first was that Linux moved into third place for the first time with $5.3 billion in sales, passing IBM’s z/OS for mainframes ($4.8 billion).

Some of the main points from the report include:

  • The overall server market grew by 4.4% in 2005 to $51.3 billion (Gartner recently released its server numbers, which said the server market grew 4.5% to $49.5 billion)
  • Linux has posted double-digit revenue growth (in percentage) for 14 straight quarters; however, it still appears to be taking more share away from UNIX than Windows
  • The Windows server growth is being powered by growth of x86 servers, which saw revenue grow by 6.7% and unit shipments grow by 13.7%; of course, x86 growth also helps Linux
  • The fact that Windows servers are being used for larger enterprise tasks and server virtualization is also driving Windows server growth
  • IBM is still the overall server king in revenue with $16.9 billion, followed by HP ($14.2 billion), Dell ($5.3 billion), and Sun ($4.9 billion)
  • Blade servers grew from $1.15 billion to $2.11 billion and the blade market is now dominated by the three big server players — IBM, HP, and Dell, in that order.
  • Smaller servers are accounting for most of the growth — 6.8 out of the 7 million servers that shipped in 2005 were sold for under $25,000