Gartner warns of emerging 'super vendors'

Vendors using M&A to create integrated offerings that analysts say will likely lack long-term innovation

ORLANDO - Gartner Inc. analysts Monday warned that the tech industry is caught in a "vortex of insatiable mergers and acquisitions" that is creating a category of "super vendors" selling highly integrated offerings.

Peter Sondergaard, senior vice president of research, offered an audience at Gartner's annual Symposium ITxpo here a particularly blunt critique of the accelerating trend by tech firms to acquire innovation though mergers and acquisitions .

"Acquiring innovation is one thing, maintaining it is completely different," said Sondergaard. Integration across an entire stack by one IT provider "is impossible to maintain long term - users will not accept architectural mediocrity," he added.

Freddie Diaz, vice president of technology sourcing at an information and publishing company he asked not be named and one of about 7,000 conference attendees, called Gartner's criticism of such acquisition strategies by technology companies "a pretty bold statement to make, because that's where all these guys (vendors) are headed."

Sondergaard didn't offer a list of "super vendors," and probably didn't need to.

Many of the largest IT firms have recently been acquiring companies as well as buying new product lines. Oracle Corp. is now selling integrated hardware offerings thanks to its acquisition of Sun Microsystems; Hewlett-Packard broadly expanded its storage capabilities with the recent of purchase of 3Par , and IBM earlier this year announced plans to spend some $20 billion on acquisitions over the next five years -- twice the amount it spent to buy companies over the past 10 years. Meanwhile, Cisco Systems Inc. has added servers to its product mix.

"M&A as an innovation accelerator has firmly taken hold," wrote PricewaterhouseCoopers in its second quarter report on merger and acquisition activity.

Underpinning this shift by vendors is a series of trends that Gartner sees as dominating the technology business: cloud computing; social computing, particularly the building of IT architectures to support social networks; context aware system that tie location with user data; and pattern recognition that will bring in new models for gleaning insights.

Tony Moldovan, a lead technical specialist at a metals industry firm he asked not be named, said the idea of social computing has merit.

He said the approach, so far, in the enterprise has been focused on blocking social networking because of productivity issues. But "as we start to open up some of that we can start utilizing some of that information in ways that we might even thought not possible," he said.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Configuration / maintenanceGartnerIT industryCIO rolehardware systemsIT LeadershipData CenterIT managementOracle

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Patrick Thibodeau

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?