The worldwide server market remains flat with first-quarter shipments totaling 1.09 million, up just 0.6 percent from the first quarter of 2001, reports Dataquest Inc., a research firm and a unit of Gartner Inc.

Activity in the U.S, market is stronger with 419,622 first-quarter shipments, up 7.6 percent from the year-earlier period, preliminary Dataquest figures show.

"Businesses are not ready to spend on tech products unless it's absolutely crucial," says Shahin Naftchi, senior analyst for Gartner Dataquest's Computing Platform Worldwide program. "Customers mostly purchase the least expensive systems to meet their short-term needs and can show a quick return on their IT investment."

Compaq Computer Corp., Houston, remains the largest global vendor, shipping 248,201 servers in the first quarter, a 1.6 percent increase. Compaq has a 22.8 percent market share.

Round Rock, Texas-based Dell Computer Corp. follows with 193,407 shipments, a 14.2 percent increase from the year-earlier period. Dell has a 17.8 percent market share. Next is IBM Corp., Armonk, N.Y., with 155,107 shipments and a 14.3 percent share.

Dell, meanwhile, leads the U.S. market with 109,091 first-quarter shipments, a 16.5 percent increase. Dell has a 26 percent U.S. market share. Compaq follows with 89,884 first-quarter deliveries and a 21.4 percent share. Next is IBM, with 55,651 shipments and a 13.3 percent share.

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