OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE OUTFIT Red Hat out-performed its rivals in operating system revenue growth with its Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) distribution.
Red Hat's Enterprise Linux OS helped the firm bring in $610 million in 2010, according to market analyst Gartner, which said that figure represented an impressive 18 per cent growth over 2009. While Red Hat posted the largest growth, Microsoft still remains the OS leader, with revenue increasing by 8.8 per cent to an astounding $23.8 billion thanks to its Windows 7 and Windows Server operating systems.
Gartner claims that Red Hat's impressive growth means that Linux is finally gaining acceptance for mission-critical server use. The mission-critical market has been predominantly the reserve of Unix variants from companies like HP and IBM, but now Gartner's pinstriped analysts claim "the market has accepted Linux as a viable alternative to Unix and other proprietary OSs in mission-critical environments". In contrast IBM and HP posted very modest revenue growth of just 5.6 per cent and 1.4 per cent, respectively.
Technically Oracle beat everyone by recording a 7,683 per cent growth, but when you start from nothing and acquire Sun and its Solaris operating system, it isn't really a fair comparison. In fact Gartner says that the revenue Oracle collected from Solaris dropped 3.2 per cent during 2010 as customers were unsure about whether Oracle would continue to support Solaris in the future.
Apple also posted tremendous revenue growth of its Mac OS X operating system, taking $520 million in 2010, which represented a 15.8 per cent rise over 2009. Gartner claimed that as Apple flogs more Iphones and Ipads, some users are jumping onto Apple's Mac products driving sales up.
Although Apple and Red Hat have posted impressive revenue growth, their market share rose 0.1 per cent to 1.7 per cent and 0.2 per cent to 2.0 per cent respectively. To put those figures into perspective, Microsoft grew 0.7 per cent and commanded 78.6 per cent of the market. It's no wonder that analysts are expecting a bumper set of financials from Microsoft.
While there is little doubt that Microsoft is still the firm to beat, Red Hat's impressive performance has shown that Linux is playing in the big leagues now when it comes to the high-end server market.
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