European server sales slumped in opening three months of the year due to the economic meltdown, but HP managed to knock IBM off the top spot as its rate of decline was slower.
This is according to abacus-stroker IDC, armed with stats that indicate factory revenues in Q1 were $3.1bn, down nearly 12 per cent year-on-year as unit shipments slid 3.8 per cent to 557,000 servers.
This was the second consecutive quarter of declines, but the first double-digit drop since the third quarter of 2009 when customers halted investments in the midst of the first major downturn.
On a quarter-on-quarter basis the picture was even bleaker, with the worth of the market dropping almost 24 per cent and unit sales dropping 13.2 per cent.
"EMEA server vendors in Q1 2012 continued to face up to a number of market challenges, compounded by a very difficult economic environment," said IDC research director Nathaniel Martinez.
The x86 segment notched up sales of $2.2bn (73 per cent of the server market's total value), though this too represented a decline of 3.4 per cent.
Non-x86 sales dived nearly 29 per cent to $841.9m – the steepest decline related EPIC servers, down 46.5 per cent, CISC and RISC were down 34.3 per cent and 16.8 per cent respectively.
Racks remained the most dominant form factor with sales of $1.5bn, albeit down 9.3 per cent year-on-year. Tower or standalone servers fell 22 per cent and blades dropped by 5 per cent.
Martinez said the region offered up a "mixed picture" in terms of server spending but large HPC projects, investment in public cloud infrastructures from hoisters and Web 2.0 players, and private cloud infrastructures hogged the limelight.
All of the major vendors bar Dell posted revenue declines, but HP had perhaps some reason to cheer after regaining the top spot from Big Blue whose rise to the top in Q4 was incredibly short lived.
IDC reports that HP revenues declined 19.1 per cent but it "outperformed" IBM by 11.9 percentage points, flogging $1bn worth of ProLiant, which represented a little over 89 per cent of its total products sales.
Grand old lady IBM saw its revenues drop 17.8 per cent, Dell was up 6.3 per cent while Oracle and Fujitsu were down 6.2 per cent and 7.4 per cent respectively. ®