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Far from expanding, despite opening the barrier for more countries to enter its fray, the business market in Europe is consolidating in the same way as the United States, it would seem.

Yet another UK solution provider, Real Solutions Group, has been acquired by a bigger European counterpart–in this case Imtech, a Dutch technical services company. Real is an IBM partner that focuses on services and software around Websphere, Tivoli, Lotus and Rational, and it employs around 100 people in the UK. Imtech intends to use the buy to bolster its mechanical and electrical engineering units, and combine with its existing IT offerings.

The thing here is that there are less and less independent VARs left in the UK now. Whereas three years ago there were 10 to 12 big IBM solutions providers in the UK, now with the acquisition of Real, there are just two or three left. But while the players get bigger and bigger, the size of the market they are operating in doesn’t, so there are simply larger solution providers fighting over the same pieces of pie.