Well, it finally happened -- Gartner acquired META Group. After Forrester acquired Giga in February 2003, the rumors were rife in the analyst community that META would be the next firm to lose its independence. It just took a bit longer than we thought.
Since both firms are based in Stamford, CT, the physical integration of the two should be easy. However, which analysts will stick around is another question.
As an independent analyst, Gartner getting bigger is good. I hear secondhand comments from clients that (1) Gartner takes forever to set up a talk with a specific analyst and (2) that its analysts sometimes lack "real world" experience. As an analyst that sets up interviews in hours and has worked in the industry for 25 years, anything that makes Gartner an even bigger behemoth -- and slower in reaction and knowledge -- makes my service more attractive to customers who expect personalized and knowledgeable service for their hard-earned money.
Now if only Gartner would buy Forrester, AMR, and Aberdeen....