Though Unix and Linux make up the majority of the server market in total, Windows saw much larger sales and growth this year than both. With worldwide growth at around 8.1% for 2005, Windows managed to snag 36.9% of that. The most popular servers are lower cost solutions, and it definitely seems that more people are turning to Windows as a server solution, for better or for worse. Now at 37% of the world market, according to one analyst, it's much more than a bit player these days.
"For the first time, you could say that Microsoft has its own legacy, and that legacy is NT," Eastwood said. How much of Windows' gain will be permanent is hard to say, he added.
Overall, most all large players saw increases in server revenue, including IBM, HP and Dell. Assisting the Windows increase is likely the much faster adoption of x86 and x86-64, which has become quite popular in low to midrange servers over the much higher priced enterprise class processors powering the worlds' top computers.