Study: Relational Database Market Dips 7%

New license software revenue for relational database management systems
(RDBMS) decreased 6.9 percent in 2002, totaling $6.6 billion in 2002 from
revenues of $7.1 billion a year earlier, according to Gartner, who just
completed a worldwide study.

So much for all of the hype about data management software. Though databases
are traditionally a strong revenue earner, the study confirms that spending
for enterprise software was particularly weak in 2002, when a depressed
economy negatively effected information technology sectors across the board.

IBM led the vendor pack with its DB2 database, which accounted for 36.2
percent of new license revenue for the RDBMS market in 2002 on the strength
of its zSeries mainframe sales for DB2. Oracle followed with 33.8 percent of
the market and Microsoft came in third with an 18 percent share. IBM’s new
license revenues totaled $2.4 million, while Oracle and Microsoft reaped
about $2.25 billion and $1.2 billion, respectively.

On the strength of its flagship 9i database, Oracle maintained its lead in
the RDBMS market on the Unix and Windows server platforms, with a 43 percent
share. IBM followed, with just over 24 percent. Microsoft, the No. 3 vendor
in the market, grew 17 percent, and it continues to hawk its improved 64-bit
SQL database to smaller enterprises.

Open source database management systems, such as MySQL and PostGreSQL, were
not included in this study.

“Along with many of the other IT markets, the RDBMS markets are feeling the
pressures of reduced IT spending,” said Colleen Graham, industry analyst for
Gartner’s Software Industry Research group. The results, she said, were no

“It wasn’t that much of a surprise that the RDBMS market declined that much
in 2002, given that Oracle holds such a large percent of the market (nearly
40% in 2001, dropping to around 34% in 2002),” Graham told “Basically when a vendor holds that much
marketshare, their results materially affect the market as a whole.”

Graham said this is a bit assuaged by the fact that major vendors continue
to work on writing new applications or embarking on new partnership for
their customers to keep database growth from getting stagnant.

IBM, for one, has been particularly busy on the data management front to pry
market share from leader Oracle. In a statement, the firm said it owed its
success to not only DB2, but it’s extensive data management tool portfolio,
such as DB2
Information Integrator
. Earlier this week, Oracle expanded their 20-year strategic alliance to include support for Oracle data
management products on Sun’s Solaris SPARC, Solaris x86 and Linux systems.

IBM and Oracle have both been working hard to corral market share with
Linux. Microsoft, while it doesn’t share those firms’ enthusiasm for Linux,
is aiming its “cost-conscious” 64-bit SQL servers at the low-end of the

Graham said she expects the DBMS market to see a decline of 2 to 3 percent in
2003. Looking forward, she expects to see the market flatten out with
positive growth in the low single digits in 2004.

The information for this report is available in the “Gartner Study Confirms
RDBMS Decline in 2002” survey from Gartner.

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