IBM, Cognos, and the End of Best-of-Breed

The software giant's $5 billion acquisition of Cognos shows how difficult it is becoming for midsize software companies to survive on their own

One of the hottest segments of the tech industry, business intelligence software, is less and less a separate category of products as one major player after another gets scooped up by larger companies. The latest move was IBM's (IBM) announcement on Nov. 12 that it will buy Cognos (COGN) of Ottawa, Canada, for $5 billion. This followed SAP's (SAP) deal to buy Business Objects (BOBJ) last month for $7 billion, and Oracle's (ORCL) acquisition of Hyperion Solutions for $3.3 billion in April.

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