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Unix Users Prefer IBM And Sun

IBM retained its top spot and Sun improved its standing with Unix users, but Hewlett-Packard slipped in the latest vendor preference ratings.

When it comes to customer satisfaction and loyalty in the Unix server market, IBM is at the top of the list this year, Sun Microsystems made huge strides, and Hewlett-Packard is struggling, according to a new survey.

"IBM topped the survey again this year, winning most categories, but their lead was a bit narrower than last year," said Dan Olds, a principal analyst and CEO of the Gabriel Consulting Group. "The real surprise is that Sun surpassed HP to finish a strong second. Last year, Sun was well behind both HP and IBM overall and in most categories. This year, they definitely win our Most Improved Unix Vendor award."

Olds surveyed 277 enterprise IT managers on their Unix preferences. He said the goal was to assess how customers are feeling about their vendors and gauge their level of loyalty. He noted that while the Unix server market may not get as much ink in the press as Microsoft Windows systems and Linux, it's the largest computing segment in terms of revenue.

The big finding this year, he noted, is Sun's resurgence in a market the company struggled in the year before.

"I was surprised the year before at Sun being third in a market they had owned for so long," said Olds. "This year they came back to a strong second. In some categories, they're challenging IBM for No. 1, and in some categories they are No. 1."

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