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


  1. I wasn't in the room or on the phone with Jim Davis, but I do know that media interviews with a major publication typically take 30 minutes but the magazines will use just few seconds of a quote.

  2. That's certainly true. But someone as experienced and accomplished as Mr. Davis would know that, just as you and I do. Knowing that, wouldn't it have been better to think through such a comment before letting pass from his lips to the reporters' microphones!

  3. May be Jim Davis should invite all the IBM folks for a beer at his house.