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As Oracle Corp. was attempting to focus the software spotlight on its OpenWorld 2007 show in San Francisco, IBM Corp. stole its thunder by announcing its acquisition of Cognos Inc. for $5 billion in a move to expand its business intelligence (BI) and business performance management (BPM) repertoire.

Cognos becomes the latest in a series of software companies to give into consolidation mania, after swearing independence just as Business Objects did before SAP AG scooped it up last month and Hyperion did before it was bought by Oracle in February. In the end, Cognos CEO Rob Ashe tried to save face: “They made us an offer we couldn’t refuse.” So what else is new?

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