IT Channel News Briefs, Dec. 2

Today's headlines: Good and bad news for server shipments, and Nokia gets in on the touch-screen fun.

Information technology (IT) channel news in brief for Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2008.

Gartner: Server shipments up, revenue down

Manufacturers shipped 4.4% more servers worldwide in the third quarter than in the year-ago quarter, but revenue on those sales fell 5.4%, according to new Gartner numbers. The number of total units shipped increased from 2.2 million to 2.3 million, while revenue decreased from $13.4 billion to $12.7 billion.

In a statement, Gartner research vice president Jeffrey Hewitt cited "constrained economies and tightened credit" for the tepid numbers. Sales of x86-based servers fueled the sales growth, but lower average selling prices caused revenue on even those servers to fall. Sales of RISC-Itanium Unix servers fell 16.8% in shipments and 10.8% in revenue, Hewitt said.

IBM retained the top spot in revenue with 30.3% market share, up from 30% last year. Hewlett-Packard logged 29.8% market share, a slight increase from 29.4% last year. Dell stayed at 11.8%, and Sun was fourth after falling from 10% to 9.1%.

HP led the pack in units shipped with 31.2% share, up from 29.3% last year. Dell took the silver despite a decrease from 21.8% to 21.6% share. IBM's share also dropped, from 14.4% to 13.3%, and Sun saw its unit share fall from 3.6% to 3.5%.

Nokia unveils N-97 smartphone

Nokia has joined the touch-screen fray with a new high-end smartphone that offers access to a wide arena of Web-based applications, The Wall Street Journal reported. Unveiled today, the N-97 won't ship until the first half of 2009 and will sell for $699 -- a hefty amount more than the BlackBerry Storm and iPhone. But the N-97 combines the most popular parts of each of these phones -- the touch screen and a full keyboard -- with greater application access through a fast Wi-Fi Internet connection.

Unlike its rivals, the N-97 will let users customize applications accessed directly from the Web, as opposed to running on the device. These applications could include everything from news feeds to Facebook. Analysts predict phones with wider application access will do better than competitors in a tough economy. Nokia needs that to be true, because the company only owns about 38% of the market, and its last consumer smartphone was released after competitors', hampering its success.

Fusion could push Oracle ahead of SAP in ERP strategy

Oracle's Fusion Applications could push the company ahead of SAP when it comes to ERP strategy, according to a new Forrester Research study reported by SearchSAP.com. Two years ago, Forrester ranked SAP ahead of Oracle in its enterprise application strategy, but this time around, SAP is still focused on getting its customers on a 2-year-old release of its ERP software.

Forrester had lauded the momentum SAP built around its NetWeaver platform. But now the firm says SAP got ahead of itself, releasing a version of its ERP software in 2006 that customers didn't need yet, and which was too expensive. By August, only about 30% of SAP's 27,000 enterprise customers had adopted ERP 6.0, according to Forrester. Still, if Oracle doesn't deliver Fusion Applications by 2010 as promised, SAP will maintain a significant advantage.

Quantum unveils dedupe for SMBs

Storage vendor Quantum recently announced a new data deduplication appliance for small and medium-sized businesses. Quantum said the DXi7500 Express includes all the hardware and software, including NAS and VTL licenses, that partners need to customize and integrate it for customers. The DXi7500 Express is immediately available with a suggested price tag of $98,250.

Check out yesterday's IT channel news briefs.

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