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By | Paul Kunert 19th March 2014 07:02

A server bonanza is for Christmas, not for life: Xmas boost hides slump

System suppliers slash prices in EMEA to avoid a year-on-year shipment wipeout

One sequential bounce in EMEA server shipments and revenues doesn't a recovery make, but last year's Chrimbo quarter may have cheered hard-pressed suppliers, judging by the figures.

The latest IDC data shows some 606,000 systems were sold across the region in the final three months of 2013, up 13.2 per cent on the previous quarter that year, as factory revenues rebounded 28.5 per cent to $3.7bn.

Seasonality was at play for the quarter-on-quarter hike, the bean counters reckon. On a year-on-year comparison with 2012, market revenues for the fourth quarter of 2013 crashed 28.5 per cent as server makers hacked prices to shift the volumes – resulting in a minor 0.3 per cent decline in shipments for the period.

Once again IBM's decision to quit the volume server game was vindicated, as its revenues in the market collapsed to $999.1m in the final quarter of 2013, down 26.3 per cent year-on-year.

Replacing IBM at the server summit, HP managed to, er, decline slower than the market average: its market revenues dropped two per cent year-on-year to $1.229bn in the fourth quarter.

Dell crossed the finishing line with sales of $486m, down 0.7 per cent, but Fujitsu and Oracle both grew by 2.3 per cent and 7.8 per cent, respectively, to $197.7m and $163.2m.

In Western Europe, a 5.7 per cent year-on-year spike in x86 revenues to $2.1bn was more than offset by a near 23 per cent drop in big iron sales to $710m, leading to an overall market contraction of 3.5 per cent.

The shadow of Asian white-box makers grew over the major brands during the quarter as they cut "large deals of commodity servers at low prices" with service providers beefing up data centres.

In fact IDC said cloudy providers and social networks "accounted for a significant chunk" of the x86 market growth which was most notable in the Nordics.

The UK was lumped in with Spain as one of the shrinking countries in Western Europe.

In Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, server revenues fell 10.3 per cent on Q4 2012 to $892.3m, the sixth consecutive quarter of decline.

For the year, EMEA server revenues fell 5.3 per cent to $12.4bn and units declined 2.7 per cent to 2.2 million boxes. This was an improvement on 2012 when shipments fell five per cent and the value of them dropped 9.6 per cent. ®

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