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Workstation market breaks out to record-setting quarter in Q2’14

Posted: 09.08.14

TIBURON, Calif— September 8, 2014. - Characterizing any mature market's quarterly performance as "breakout" verges upon oxymoron. After all, no one is going to confuse the well-established workstation market with a hot emerging market, nor should the former ever expect to see the big quarter-to-quarter growth numbers of the latter. However, in light of a lackluster recent history coupled with rampant negativity associated with any PC-related market as of late, leading analyst firm Jon Peddie Research (JPR) is calling Q2'14 for the workstation market just that: a breakout quarter.

Completing its compilation and analysis of market results for the second quarter, JPR reports the workstation industry achieved record levels for both unit volume and revenue. Worldwide, the industry shipped approximately 1.05 million workstations in the second quarter, corresponding to growth of 10.8% sequentially and 11.5%, year-over-year (YoY).

The welcome jump in volume shook the market loose from its recent doldrums. While results from previous quarters had clearly shown the workstation market was on a different, healthier trajectory than the related market for mainstream client PCs, the basic truth is the market had been drifting sideways for a while.

"With economic conditions more robust, and without the same threat of encroachment from tablets that has depressed PC shipments, we had been expecting some kind of meaningful thrust forward at some point," explains Senior Analyst and JPR Workstation Report author Alex Herrera. "And it appears that's just what we've gotten, with Windows XP's recent end-of-support certainly providing a helpful tail-wind for replacement cycles. Add it all up, and the market's performing better than it ever has.

Figure 1 Workstation OEMs' market shares for Q2'14 (units)

No drastic change in workstation vendors' fortunes ... though Dell makes a bit more progress

Market shares among the major workstation OEMs once again changed little, with market leader HP's share of 39.7% identical to the prior quarter's figure. A revitalized Dell hung onto its previous gains, adding a few tenths of a percentage point to move to 33.6%. By a relative measure, Lenovo proved to be the quarter's winner.Though the number three vendor's gains weren't dramatic, rising from 12.9% to 13.7%, the latter level did market a new high for the computer hardware giant.

AMD's share of professional graphics hardware shipments climbs again, on the back of FirePro shipments to Apple

Q2'14 marked the third quarter of shipments for AMD FirePro professional graphics products in Apple's recently revamped Mac Pro, and FirePro numbers continued to climb as Apple's premier professional platform ramped. With 74% of units shipped bearing its Quadro brand, Nvidia still commands the lion's share of the market, but AMD took another few points of market share in the quarter to rise to 25.0%.