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Gartner Predicts Major Consulting Acquisitions in Microsoft's Future

Forget what Microsoft says about not becoming a services company, advises consultancy Gartner. The Redmond-based firm may be ready to spend some major dough on acquiring IT services firms.

Using its famous prediction probabilities, Gartner this week projected that there was a 0.6 probability (a 60 percent chance) that Microsoft will spend at least $15 billion to acquire up to five IT professional service vendors by year-end 2005. One of those IT services vendors would be a globally recognized brand, Gartner predicts in its bulletin called, "Microsoft: Are Major Consulting Acquisitions Coming?"

Naming the operational execution of a service strategy and solution for end-user clients as one of Microsoft's most significant hurdles to capturing the enterprise market, Gartner lays out its case for Microsoft to make a big purchase.

According to Gartner, Microsoft is sitting on a cash war chest of $38 billion and the antitrust case is winding down.

"Now that the case appears to be close to partial settlement, it is likely that Microsoft will go on a major shopping spree -- the amount of cash available makes a large acquisition almost a necessity," Gartner writes.

Likely acquisition candidates include small management and security tools vendors, but professional services firms are one of the "most intriguing key targets," according to Gartner.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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