The database industry has now matured and will no longer show the explosive growth of previous years, according to analysts at market research firm Dataquest.
According to the researchers' review of the market, the sector grew only seven per cent to $6.6 billion in 1997, compared to 15 per cent the year before, and will continue to show single-digit growth over the next five years.
Carolyn DiCenzo, analyst at Dataquest, said: 'The outlook for the next five years shows continued single-digit growth overall, with some strength as the year 2000 approaches and companies scurry to replace or upgrade non-year 2000-compliant applications.'
Oracle was the market leader this year, she added, with a 27.5 per cent market share, followed by IBM with 27.2 per cent - a reversal of the position a year ago when Big Blue led with 27.2 per cent and Oracle trailed with 24.9 per cent.
In 1997, Microsoft's share edged ahead to 14.9 per cent from 12.1 per cent, while Sybase's declined to 4.5 per cent from 5.7 per cent and Informix' dropped to 4.4 per cent from 6.1 per cent.
While new purchases focused mainly on relational databases, with Oracle leading Unix and Windows NT, sales of Unix products fell slightly because of Sybase and Informix, although this was balanced by strong sales from IBM and NCR, with its Teradata database.
Sales of NT-based products surged 91 per cent, but Oracle dominated the field with a 41.5 per cent share of the market.
Microsoft, on the other hand, trailed with 38.3 per cent of the market share.
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