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IBM buys Cognos for $4.9 billion as industry consolidation hits overdrive

IBM just removed more choice from the market. Should we be concerned?

Who do you want to buy from today? Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, or SAP? Those are pretty much the only choices left, now that IBM has announced its acquisition of Cognos for $4.9 billion.

The deal has long been expected, given that IBM had to play catch-up with Oracle and SAP, both of whom have gone on the business intelligence buying binge in the past year. The Cognos acquisition should work financially for IBM by giving it economies of scale in the sales process.

But what does it give customers? One less choice. That is, unless they opt for open source, which opens up the playing field considerably. JasperSoft, Pentaho, Actuate, Greenplum, and others offer choice in business intelligence. It will be interesting to see if someone snaps one up at the "low-end" of the market.