Unix, the core server operating system in enterprise networks for decades, now finds itself in a slow, inexorable decline. IDC predicts that Unix server revenue will slide from $10.2 billion in 2012 to $8.7 billion in 2017, and Gartner sees Unix market share slipping from 16% in 2012 to 9% in 2017.

The decline is due to competition from Linux and Microsoft which can handle more efficient hardware with more powerful processor cores with less expensive and requires less maintenance. Unix has taken hits from hardware and software venders with lack of support and application development slowdowns. Within the Unix ecosystem, IBM has taken advantage of the turmoil at HP, as well as the uncertainty that resulted from Oracle’s purchase of Sun. Despite Oracles sun purchase Oracle has continued to see declining hardware revenues.

Part of this decline is due to recent ecosystem changes in line with IT modernization, migration, or consolidation strategies and the huge push for mobile computing and cloud based infrastructure systems. This is an area where Unix is not a strong competitor Unix systems have always be known for stability in mission-critical environments. While Unix is still held in high regard for stability enterprises are seek to divest their reliance on the platform due compatibly with other cloud based application.

Although the Unix market is declining, there is still considerable competition and churn in the segment. HP-UX has lost considerable market share to IBM, which, as far as I can see, has posted net gain in revenues and market share. IBM 56% market share, based on 2012 worldwide Unix server revenue. Oracle is a distant second at 19.2%, followed by HP at 18.6%.

While Unix revenues are in a long, slow descent, nobody is predicting that Unix will go away completely Unix still has its strength in certain areas and will continue to stay strong in those respected areas.