7 May 2002 IBM overtook Oracle in 2001 as the largest database software vendor in the world with a market share of 34.6%, according to analysts at Gartner Dataquest.
Oracle captured a market share of 32%, down from 34.1% the year before, with Microsoft a long way behind in third place with a 16.3% market share, up from 14%. In financial terms, IBM earned revenues of $3.06 billion (€3.35bn) compared to Oracle’s $2.83 billion (€3.09bn).
Gartner attributes IBM’s increased share of the market to the December 2000 acquisition of Informix, which accounted for about 3% of the global market. Without the Informix acquisition, IBM and Oracle would have achieved roughly equal market shares.
The Gartner survey showed – predictably – that Microsoft leads the market for Windows-based databases with SQL Server 2000 gaining a 39.9% market share, compared to 34% for Oracle. This segment of the industry is worth $2.5 billion (€2.74bn).
But Oracle was the overwhelming market leader in the Unix operating system sector, with a 63.3% market share, against 24.7% for IBM. This segment of the market is valued at $3 billion (€3.28bn).
Although Oracle has been hit particularly hard by the downturn in IT spending and has faced repeated criticism over the price of its product and its licensing practices, its technology remains highly regarded by users.
In an April survey of Oracle customers, Morgan Stanley and the International Oracle User Group found that a majority of customers still regard Oracle as the best database software. However, only a tiny minority of respondents said that they needed to license new software in the near future – an indication that the downturn in IT spending is not set to abate any time soon.