The worldwide market for application integration, middleware and portal software rose nearly six percent to US$6.7 billion last year, according to research firm Gartner.
IBM's WebSphere franchise led the overall field with US$2.5 billion in revenue for 2004, up 8.7 percent from 2003. Its market share inched up to 37.2 percent from 36.3 percent over the same period. Gartner analyst Joanne Correia said IBM has begun to reap the rewards of its Express products, which targeted midmarket customers and the resellers that support them.
Gartner defined the market to include application servers, integration suites, portals, message-oriented middleware and transaction processing monitors. The IBM portfolio included MQSeries messaging middleware and WebSphere portal and integration offerings, but not the legacy tools that also carry the WebSphere logo, Correia said.
Application server pioneer BEA Systems saw its revenue slip 7.4 percent to US$482.3 million last year. The company accounted for 7.2 percent of the market, the second-largest share, but that figure was down from 8.2 percent in 2003.
Oracle realised a 12.5 percent gain, with its revenue climbing to US$292.2 million. Microsoft saw the biggest sales increase in the space with a 63.1 percent rise, attributable to its SharePoint Portal Server (SPS) and BizTalk Server products. The software giant's market share climbed to 4.3 percent from 2.8 percent.
"Those products have done very well, particularly in the channel," Correia said. The Microsoft figure includes SPS and BizTalk but not the base SharePoint services that ship with Windows 2003 Server.
On the application server side, IBM led with 38.4 share and an 11.8 percent increase in revenue to US$473 million. BEA's share dipped to 21.7 percent from 26.3 percent and its sales fell 14.7 percent to US$267.3 million.
Sandy Carter, vice president of strategy, channels and marketing for IBM WebSphere, said the numbers validate Big Blue's strategy of building atop open-source and open-standards technology.