Worldwide server shipments continued to take a beating in the third quarter of 2009, dropping 17.1% compared to the same period a year ago, research firm Gartner Inc. reports.

While the news certainly isn’t good for hardware manufacturers, Gartner did say that it appears the worst may be over.

“It is important to put the yearly declines into perspective,” said Jeffrey Hewitt, research vice president at Gartner. “Looking at the third quarter results from the sequential perspective, they showed an increase of 13.8% in shipments and 10.2% in revenues when compared to the second quarter of this year.

“That suggests that the market as a whole is showing signs of stabilization as we move toward the end of 2009.”

Worldwide server revenues in the third quarter of 2009 totaled $10.7 billion according to Gartner, a 15.5% decline from the same period a year ago, while server shipments reached 1.2 million units.

IBM maintained its lead as the top revenue earner for the quarter, bringing in about $3.4 billion in sales. That was down from $3.9 billion in sales a year earlier. HP was next with $3.2 billion in sales, compared to $3.8 billion a year ago. Dell had $1.4 billion in sales, compared to $1.5 billion a year earlier, and Sun Microsystems had $784 million in sales, compared to $1.2 billion a year earlier.

Sun Microsystems suffered the steepest decline in revenues of the major server manufacturers, falling 32.3% year-over-year.

In terms of server shipments, HP came out on top with 615,694 units shipped, or 32.1% of the market. Dell was next with 437,447 units shipped, or 22.8% of the market. IBM shipped 246,493 units for 12.8% of the market. Fujitsu shipped 66,953 units for 3.5% of the market, and Sun shipped 50,435 units for 2.6% of the market.

Once again, Sun took the biggest hit, seeing its server shipments plummet 38.1% compared to the third quarter of 2008.


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