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Andrew T. Gillies is Director of Communications at the Center for Audit Quality, an affiliate of the American Institute of CPAs, in Washington, DC. Based in Washington since 2002, he has also worked in editorial and communications roles at the Investment Company Institute, the World Bank, Forbes, and Vault.com. His policy-themed writing has focused on aerospace and defense, energy and environment, transportation, and financial services.

Thursday, March 01, 2001

Stock Focus: Unsung Market Leaders

NEW YORK - It's not always easy being a market leader. Someone is always gunning for you. Still, advantages that accompany this status--such as the ability to establish price benchmarks for an industry and attract top-level employees--can be tremendous. And in an economic slowdown, industry leaders can gain market share at the expense of weaker competitors.

One unheralded market leader in the technology space is Acxiom (nasdaq: ACXM - news - people), a developer of real-time software for managing customer information across multiple databases. The firm's flagship program is a package called AbiliTec.

John Schneller, analyst at CIBC World Markets, thinks Acxiom can stave off the competition thanks to partnerships with companies such as Oracle (nasdaq: ORCL - news - people), IBM (nyse: IBM - news - people), Compaq (nyse: CPQ - news - people), Lockheed Martin (nyse: LMT - news - people) and PricewaterhouseCoopers. "These technology players have made a big bet on Acxiom," says Schneller. The company recently completed 12 long-term contracts.

Full story at Forbes.com