Last updated: July 6, 2010 - 8:17am
The world's largest technology companies have been on a buying spree, spending billions of dollars to snap up smaller companies. And often the buyers say they're doing it for their customers -- businesses, hospitals, schools and government agencies. As tech companies get bigger and bigger, they say, they can offer a broader variety of products and make it easier for their customers to do one-stop shopping. Yet the customers tell a different story. Often they get new headaches with multibillion-dollar deals by the likes of Oracle, IBM, SAP, Dell and Hewlett-Packard. When you add the challenges that come with any corporate acquisition, it's not hard to envision a reverse trend eventually building: a drive to split up tech companies that have grown too large. In other words, the tech consolidation of the past few years could turn out to have wasted shareholders' money.