According to research from analyst organisation Gartner Dataquest, IBM's DB2 offering commanded 38.2% of the relational database market in 2000, a 17% increase in DB2 sales. Oracle came second at 34.1%.
IBM also took the lead in terms of licences sold in the database management system market, coming in at first place with 37.9%, ahead of second-place Oracle at 26.3% and Microsoft in third with a 15.4% share.
Gartner Dataquest industry analyst Colleen Graham pointed out that while IBM has stolen the march in Europe, Oracle was still leading the way in the rest of the world. She also noted that IBM included IMS, its mainframe database management offering, in the figures - something that Oracle does not have.
Tony Occleshaw, IBM's regional marketing manager for north region (Europe) software, told CW360.com that a couple of years ago Oracle was the undisputed database leader. "We went after the second-place position and got the first. For the first time Oracle has a competitor," he said.
Gartner Dataquest's Graham believed IBM has a good chance of achieving world leadership next year.
"IBM has been having a fairly good year on databases in 2001 and Oracle has been having some troubles, which you can see just from looking at its earnings statements," Graham said. Oracle has "been having low negative growth, and I think it's going to be a close-run race for 2001", she added.
Oracle declined to comment on the figures, despite persistent attempts by CW360.com.
IBM's Occleshaw, however, was convinced that Oracle's recent advertising campaign, which rubbished IBM's technology rather than promote its own, had backfired and only served to stunt its potential growth.
"This advertising campaign they've been running, which is particularly aggressive and direct, [has not worked]," Occleshaw said. "All that's happening is people are thinking there must be something in this and coming to us instead."