Friday, July 31, 2009

SAS makes a bad move

On Tuesday, IBM purchased SPSS, Inc., a make of predictive analytics software. SPSS' primary rival in that space is SAS Institute, a privately held firm based in Cary, NC that makes (in my opinion) the best business intelligence software in the world. Their marketing decisions, however, are sub-standard. In fact, I'd go so far as to call them stupid. Jim Davis, chief marketing officer at SAS, told ComputerWorld that customers of SPSS should be concerned about IBM's acquisition. He warned of price increases and reduced attention to innovation once the software is brought under the big blue umbrella.

My question is ... Why do this? Why make this statement?
I understand that a trade journalist calls you up for a reaction to a major market event. But SAS is clearly the leader in the BI space, with $2.2 billion in annual revenues and over 33% market share for advanced analytic tools. Sure, SPSS was #2, but with less than half the share of market (14.3%). Davis' comments are petty. He would have been better served to congratulate IBM on the acquisition and then go on to describe why customers choose his product over the competition.

Credit where credit is due ...
ComputerWorld's coverage of the SPSS Acquisition

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A patch shrouded in mystery

Later today, Microsoft is expected to release a security patch that is believed to address vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer. I say "believed" because Microsoft has taken the highly unusual step of forbidding the development team from commenting on the measures until after the patch is released.

So right now, all we have are rumors, educated guesses, and our own imagination. I suspect that this could be a big problem with a signature problem. What other reason could cause this kind of behavior from the boys and girls in Redmond?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Oracle raises prices again

Despite the unassailable growth of low-cost and open-source database solutions, Oracle (ORCL: NASDAQ) commands a huge share of the enterprise class database market. It's no surprise to me that they are looking for ways to capitalize on this by raising prices on ancillary products. The basic entry point for their database software hasn't changed much. But add-ons such as Tuning Pack and Diagnostic Pack have seen jumps by as much as 40%.

Will large businesses be willing to pay these prices? I think so. The improvements in performance gained by the effective use of these tools will more than justify the cost. And when making a purchasing decision, companies don't often look at what the price used to be -- that information isn't often available anyway. They look at the current need, the current solution, and the current expectations of benefit. So, Oracle has made a smart play here. By keeping the cost of entry competitive, they have placed a bet on getting more value out of the products that make their core product even better. This will make their core products even harder to displace, and help to fortify their position in the market.

Current Pricing from Oracle
Other insights from the blogosphere

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Microsoft acknowledges IE attacks

If you're still using Internet 6 or 7, then take a look at the article linked below. Microsoft has confirmed that hackers are exploiting a vulnerability in those versions. "A user needs to be lured to navigate to a malicious Web site or a compromised legitimate Web site to be affected ... [but] no further user interaction is needed," according to Chengyun Chu, of the Microsoft Security Response Center's engineering team.

I found IE 7 to be substandard. But version 8 has proven to be pretty good. So make it a point to get your firm's PC's updated as soon as possible.

Credit where credit is due:
Microsoft confirms attack via ComputerWorld