The latest report from London market research company Wharton Information Systems Ltd on the fortunes of the UK computer industry says that in 1991, Unix hardware revenues outstripped the personal computer market for the first time, generating UKP1,383m in sales. System shipments were up 34%, while revenues rose by 25%. In contrast, personal computer unit […]
The latest report from London market research company Wharton Information Systems Ltd on the fortunes of the UK computer industry says that in 1991, Unix hardware revenues outstripped the personal computer market for the first time, generating UKP1,383m in sales. System shipments were up 34%, while revenues rose by 25%. In contrast, personal computer unit sales rose by 1.5% to 799,550 – of which 72,710 were of Apple Computer Inc Macintosh systems – while revenues slumped 27% to UKP1,276m compared with 1990. Nevertheless, Microsoft Corp maintained its strong growth, with Windows-based systems representing 50% of all MS-DOS-based shipments. Compaq Computer Corp again led the portable market, followed by Amstrad Plc and Toshiba Corp. Nearly 30% of personal computers shipped last year were networked – against 18% in 1990. Wharton observes that Intel Corp’s 80486 microprocessor seems to have had little impact in the UK market thus far. System ships were dominated by the 80386, which now commands 50% of the market, up from 22% in 1990. Some 18% of MS-DOS and Apple machines were sold through retail or catalogue outlets, 16% were sold direct, while the dealer channel now represents a declining 66% of total sales. In the Unix market, the workstation sector was again dominated by Sun Microsystems Inc, while ICL Plc took the the major portion of the server sector. Sales of server systems now account for 85% of Unix system revenues, the report says. Wharton’s analysis goes on to argue that the UK recession has forced dealers to adopt multiple system strategies to survive. In 1989, 60% of dealers were dedicated MS-DOS dealers – now that figure is down to 20% as dealers move to combined Unix-MS-DOS implementations. The first reason for this change is survival, says research director Andrea Wharton. The anatomy of the sale is very different in the Unix environment. In the MS-DOS market, 85% of the sale is hardware, and post sales revenue-generating activities are virtually nil. A Unix sale is 35% hardware, 25% software, plus training, implementation and maintenance to make up the total. The other major difference is that over the average six year life of the system, the Unix reseller will invoice an additional 120% of the original purchase price from the sale of additional hardware and software. It is therefore not surprising that dealers are becoming more enthusiastic about open systems. For the coming year, Wharton sees fewer and fewer organisations increasingly taking a greater share of the market. The major pressure will be to reduce marketing costs. Hence the move towards off-the-page and telephone sales.