Business Objects and Cognos have long been considered the leaders in business intelligence (BI) platforms. But in a surprising new report, Gartner  ranks Microsoft ahead of those companies in its ability to execute.

Gartner's "magic quadrants" are typically annual market evaluations that place software vendors  in one of four quadrants within a square: niche players, visionaries, challengers, and leaders. Specific placement depends on a vendor's ability to execute, which moves them upward, and completeness of vision, which moves them to the right.
Business Objects, Cognos, and Microsoft were placed among the leaders in Gartner's just-released Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence Platforms, 2008. But the research firm placed Microsoft above the other two in its ability to execute—including the competitiveness and success of its BI goods and services, its viability and investment in BI, and the execution of its sales and pricing. In last year's BI platform report, Gartner put Microsoft in the challenger quadrant.

Business Objects and Cognos slightly outranked Microsoft in completeness of vision, which includes such things as market understanding, sales strategy, product development, and delivery strategy