Here's some good news for Red Hat: the Linux software market is expected to continue to enjoy robust growth over the next several years.
Linux subscription revenue is expected to grow 16.9 percent annually through 2013, according to a new study issued this week by market research firm IDC. The worldwide market is expected to cross the $1 billion threshold in 2012 and hit $1.2 billion in 2013.
The market expanded 23.4 percent from 2007 to 2008, IDC found.
Raleigh-based Red Hat is the No. 1 supplier of subscriptions for Linux software, an open-source operating system that competes with Microsoft's Windows.
The IDC study isn't entirely upbeat, however. The number of subscriptions for Linux software that runs servers is supposed to decrease slightly this year before recovering next year. Blame virtualization, which enables companies to make more efficient use of servers, according to the study.
Competition for the Linux market is mostly a two-horse race. Red Hat and rival Novell together reaped 94.5 percent of Linux revenue in 2008, IDC found.
Red Hat revenue rose 11 percent to $174.4 million in the quarter that ended May 31, a hike that outpaced analysts' expectations.