Global OS revenues up following financial decline

The market for operating systems worldwide hit $30.4 billion last year, with Apple gaining some ground in the PC OS market.

Within an overall revenue increase of 7.8 percent the client OS segment approached double digit growth with a 9.3 percent increase from 2009, showing continued demand in the PC market following the economic downturn.

Of the client OS’, Apple’s Mac OS was the fastest growing with strong sales of its laptops and desktop products, recording growth of 15.8 percent to reach $520 million in 2010.

And with the continuous innovations within the phone and tablet device ranges, for iOS it seems that increasing familiarity with the operating system has gone a long way to increasing the Apple loyal contingent, showing an impact on the entire Apple ecosystem.

However Microsoft stayed way out in front in the client OS market with growth in the high single digits due to the take up of Windows 7, and the encroaching death throes of XP into its end of life in 2014 accelerating uptake.

The firm recorded a 9.2 percent growth in this segment, with a new wave of PC sales that had been pent up following the recession considered to be one of the reasons for the good performance, with Windows 7 being well received as a successor to Vista and XP.

Meanwhile the server OS segment, which grew 5.7 percent, saw a move toward open standard with Linux being the fastest growing within the segment.   

Red Hat was the dominant force in the Linux server market with revenues up 18.6 percent to $592 million in 2010, and accounting for 58.2 percent of the market.

Gartner analysts believe that this shows the acceptance of Linux as a viable alternative to Unix and other proprietary OS’ in “mission critical environments”.

In the Unix OS market, IBM AIX claimed high single-digit growth, “but Unix generally experienced modest or negative growth,” said managing vice president Alan Dayley.

Overall Microsoft held the largest share of wordwide OS software market with a 78 percent share in 2010, followed by IBM  with 7.5 percent and HP with 3.7 percent.

Meanwhile Oracle climbed from eight place in 2009 to fourth in the rankings last year following its acquisition of Sun Microsystems in April 2009.

It is noted however that Oracle’s software revenue from Solaris declined 3.2 percent in 2010, with end users apparently sceptical about Oracle’s commitment to the platform despite the firm making announcements to allay fears.