Microsoft Windows became the biggest selling server operating system for the first time during the third quarter of 2005. It outsold all other server operating systems, with organisations purchasing £2.7bn worth of licences.
Analyst firm IDC said less-expensive servers continued to drive the worldwide server market in the third quarter, which grew 8.1% year-on-year to £7.4bn.
Sales of servers running Windows jumped almost 18%, meaning Microsoft can now say it makes the most popular server operating system, said IDC.
The analyst firm said inexpensive servers were now often clustered together for greater processing power and flexibility, in place of more expensive enterprise servers. Sales of servers costing less than £15,000 grew nearly 15% over the year, and sales of enterprise servers priced above £295,000 declined by 1.2%.
Although sales of servers running the Linux operating system increased by 34% in the quarter year-on-year, the growth was less than the previous quarter. Unix servers accounted for 0.5% fewer sales in the third quarter.
In a separate survey of overall server hardware shipments for the third quarter, analyst firm Gartner said Hewlett-Packard was still the leading supplier by market share, despite a slip in its percentage.
The gap between HP and Dell has narrowed, and IBM has reduced the gap between itself and the top two. Sun Microsystems is still the number four provider, ahead of Fujitsu.