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Microsoft Snaps Up ActiveViews

The move is part of Microsoft's effort to bolster its SQL Server Business Intelligence.
Microsoft on Monday acquired ActiveViews Inc., a privately held developer of ad hoc reporting software. Microsoft will add ActiveViews' technology to its recently debuted Reporting Services to make it accessible to a broad range of information workers. The cost of the acquisition was not disclosed. Two of ActiveViews' five employees will join Microsoft in Redmond, Wash., while the others will remain at the company's Provo, Utah, headquarters.

Microsoft Reporting Services, available since January, are reporting tools built directly into the vendor's SQL Server database. They compete with standalone reporting tools from vendors such as Actuate, Business Objects, and Cognos. The strategy is similar to the course Microsoft has followed is winning large market shares for SQL Server and the database's built-in analytical services.

Reporting Services are used largely by "power users" with programming experience or IT developers who build reports for employees and managers who need access to data as part of their everyday jobs. But Microsoft was hearing from customers that more workers want to develop their own reports and database queries and modify reports developed for them, says Tom Rizzo, Microsoft SQL Server product management director.

ActiveViews' graphical ad hoc reporting software, based on Microsoft.Net and SQL Server and Reporting Services, let users view data in a database and develop reports and queries to retrieve that information. "We really want to empower the end user," Rizzo says. "Our whole strategy is business intelligence for everyone." IT will still control what data ActiveViews users can access, Rizzo says. He would not disclose a timetable for incorporating ActiveViews into Reporting Services.