Oracle’s embracing of Linux has helped it catch up with IBM, with the company achieving a “virtual tie” in sales last year, and a marginal $30m (£16m) lead over Big Blue this year, according to analyst Gartner.
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Gartner said Oracle had 34.1% of the overall market for relational database software and that IBM stood at 33.7%. Microsoft was third with 20% of sales.
Oracle saw strong growth of nearly 15% in 2004, with much of it coming from Linux platforms.
The analyst said that much of IBM’s growth came from its DB2 database on zSeries mainframe servers, and DB2 sales on the Unix platform, which grew by almost 9%.
Overall, new database licence sales at all suppliers rose to $7.8bn in 2004, an increase of 10.3% over 2003’s $7.1bn.
Unix was again the most popular database platform, but its share slipped by 0.7%. Oracle has 56% of new licence sales on the Unix platform.
Windows database sales were $3.1bn, an increase of around 10%, with Microsoft holding 51% of the market.
Linux-based databases grew by a massive 118%, with new licence revenue growing from $300m to $655m. Oracle has 80.5% of the Linux market, a performance which allowed it to catch IBM.