EMC Announces Partnership with Alpine Data Labs

Catching up on the news here.

The keyword in the title of this post is “announces”.  It’s not news that EMC partners with Alpine Data Labs.   Alpine Miner is a nifty product, but in the predictive analytics market Alpine is an ankle-biter compared to SAS, SPSS, Mathsoft and other vendors.   Greenplum and Alpine were sister companies funded by the same VC before EMC entered the picture.  When EMC acquired Greenplum, they passed on Alpine because (a) it didn’t fit into EMC’s all-things-data warehousing strategy, and (b) EMC didn’t want to mess up their new alliance with SAS.

SAS does not look kindly on alliance partners that compete with them; this is, in part, a knee-jerk response.  In the analytics software market, clients rarely switch from one vendor to another, and growth opportunities in the analytic tools market are limited.  Most of the action is in emerging users and analytic applications, where SAS’ core strengths don’t play as well.  Nevertheless, SAS expects to own every category in which it chooses to compete and expects its partners to go along even as SAS invades new territory.

After EMC acquired Greenplum, GP reps continued to work together on a “sell-with” basis in a kind of “stealth” partnership.

So it’s significant that EMC entered into a reseller agreement with Alpine and announced it to the world.  It’s a smart move by EMC; as I said earlier, Alpine is a nifty product. But it suggests that EMC isn’t getting the traction it expected from the SAS alliance — a view that’s supported by scuttlebutt from inside both SAS and EMC.

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