With the Microsoft advances in SQL 2005, can the complex and more expensive offerings of the UNIX platforms, like IBM, maintain their position?
IBM, let's not forget, has yet to make their BI move. Who will it be? And will it be too late?
I consider Microstrategy, Cognos and Hyperion, in that order as candidates. Business Objects has made their own push to be positioned alongside the large players so I don't see them in play to IBM. IBM has a handle on ETL with its purchase of Ascential. Duplicate technology is always a problem in M&A since the acquirer doesn't want to pay for anything it already has. Cognos has an ETL tool, but it doesn't exist in the field, to my knowledge, outside of shops with the Cognos BI toolset. So, while a slight overlap, it's not fatal to a deal.
Unwanted technology can also be a problem in a deal unless the acquirer can find a way to want it. Application software does not appear to be an interest to IBM since it has only dabbled in it over the years. MicroStrategy several years ago abandoned its application software while Cognos and Hyperion are going headstrong into that market. Could this be a plus for a MicroStrategy option? Maybe. MicroStrategy has put out messages in the past of not being interested in M&A, but I have to believe that will or has changed.
What will happen? I don't know. Deals take much more than putting a puzzle together from the outside. Valuations, culture fit, personalities, priorities and timing all play a part. I believe a deal will get done, but the when and where remain to be seen.