In the past two years, IBM (IBM), SAP (SAP), and Oracle (ORCL) have bought companies that compete with SAS in providing software that can predict trends, identify profitable customers, reduce risk, or shave costs. [SAS CEO] Goodnight views the mergers as a chance to make hay. "We always look for any company that's acquired to be messed up for a year," Goodnight says in an interview.
The article also brings some interesting data about SAS pricing and market share:
SAS's growth comes partly because it can charge premium prices for its software, which lets statisticians predict future scenarios based on historical data. Versions of SAS products tailored for specific industries can start at $1 million to run a unit of a company, with annual subscription fees of 20% to 30% of the initial cost. "That makes the product somewhat pricey," compared with other vendors', says Bill Hostmann, an analyst at market research company Gartner (IT).
Sales of data analysis software increased 22%, to $8.8 billion, in 2008, according to Gartner. SAS had about 15% of the market, the same as Oracle's share. SAP held a 24% share of the market and IBM 11%.
As is becoming routine in these stories, R gets a mention too:
At the low end of the market, SAS also is contending with the popularity of an open source programming language called R, which is used by Google (GOOG), Stanford University, and other prominent organizations to build statistical applications.
BusinessWeek.com: IBM vs. SAS: The Battle over Data Analysis Software