back to article Big Blue blows a billion on predictive software seller

IBM is paying $1.2bn for SPSS, which sells business intelligence and predictive analysis software. Making better use of historical company information is nothing new, but SPSS claims to be able to use this information to create "actionable foresight". The firm started life in 1968 and currently employs 1,200 people in 60 …


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  1. itbod


    Anyone else slightly scared where this is going?

    Once the systems get linked up enough and most of our data is easily harvested. What is to stop the controlling authorities to start doing experiments / simulations on the general population for fun....

    Just because it's possible doesen't mean we have to use it.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    This purchase pitches IBM right up against SAS in the analytics space and will perhaps give SPSS the backing it needs to start displacing SAS as a de-facto standard. If IBM can integrate its optimisation and business rules management product, ILOG with SPSS, then the joint product offering will be strong.

    A billion seems a bargain to me, if it can grab even a small percentage of SAS' market share.

  3. Secretgeek


    I used SPSS when I was studying Psychology.

    2 way Analysis of Variance?

    The horror, the horror.

  4. Nexox Enigma

    Oh no!

    Until I read those four evil letters I had entirely forgotten about SPSS. I used to have to support it (all 48 versions released since the dawn of time, on anything from Windows ME and OS 8.1 to Vista and Leopard) and until now those terrible memories had lain dormant in one of those dusty corners of my mind. The best times came when it was actually impossible for us to purchase copies of the demonic software, which wasn't a good explanation to try and give a professor.

    Oh god, and it had a scanner component for reading multiple choice sheets, but our license was for the 1998 version, which natrually only worked with scanners from 1998, which had to be made to work with Vista. With SCSI interfaces.

    Pardon me while I find somewhere dark to consume a bottle of tape head cleaner.

  5. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Full Disclosure Transparency AIdDs Recovery of Discovery and New Beta Knowledge Sourcing ....

    ..... for Future Presentations.

    Is "actionable foresight" in the Similar Meme Strain as "HyperVision is a PreCogniscence in AI's Graceful States"

    All Constructive Foresight Always Generates ITs Own ESPecial Mutually Beneficial Positive Reinforcement Drivers ........42 Virtually AIdD Phormations of Reality aka New World Orders.

    Which you may notice is not a Question to Doubt with your own DisBelief.

  6. h 6


    I used SPSS in grad school. Although, to me, I was just typing into a terminal of the main frame, and a monkey would then type me back a bunch of rubbish.

  7. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Ah I remeber it well

    Back in college we used some of it on an Engineering course. It seemed to be like a really primitive spreadsheet.

    Presumably it's got something going for it to have lasted this long. Platforms supported? Ability to chew on huge data sets? Massively powerful statistical functions unavailable anywhere else?

    Large brown envelopes to various professors to ensure they continue to mandate this stuff to their students?

    Who knows.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    @Nexox Enigma

    Pardon me while I find somewhere dark to consume a bottle of tape head cleaner.

    Is that the old formula or the new. It's only slightly less toxic. Skull because...

  9. Richie 1
    Thumb Down

    SPSS is dying

    No-one uses SPSS for any serious statistics. R is becoming the standard tool for statisticians. SAS is still the main player for dealing with big datasets in corporations who like to blow their wad on software licenses.

    But a billion for SPSS? That's just dumb.

  10. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Whoah ....Giddy up . Go ahead .... back away.

    "Once the systems get linked up enough and most of our data is easily harvested. What is to stop the controlling authorities to start doing experiments / simulations on the general population for fun...." ..... By itbod Posted Tuesday 28th July 2009 14:48 GMT

    That was a very perceptive post, itbod, and the truthful answer is absolutely nothing, ergo that is what is already happening.

    Welcome to the Greatest of Great Games with ITs ARGonauts on [Fleecing] Quests 42 Control Planet Earth Better with Betas. Be Prepared and Choose your Partners and Drivers Wisely for one False Move has one Losing Everything and one is written out of the Future and its Novel Programs. IT is not for the Faint Hearted as it does not Suffer Fools at All.

    And would you like to clarify/define/expand upon "fun".

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Now we know why they are shafting the remaining loyal workers...

    they needed the cash to buy yet another company to make the share price go up.

  12. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Now that's rich

    amanfromMars asking for clarification. That'd be like Drashek requiring some coherency.

    The mind boggles from such a staggering amount of irony.

  13. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Further Full Disclosures

    SAS...The Power to Know [the Future]

    If the IBM purchase of SPSS doesn't deliver the Package/Packets which they may have expected, or been promised to Deliver the Future with Business Intelligence, and should there be A.N.Other available, which would be able to Guarantee such a Facility, by Virtue of its Privately Secured Proprietary Source Algorithm Base/Methodology/Technology, and for a Lesser Sum than $1.2billion .... [and let us consider one dollar under $1billion as that lesser Sum] ..... then SPSS would be both failing themselves and IBM in not making the Purchase to add the Program to their Intellectual Property Portfolio, for not only do they get what they promised and IBM get what they expected, but they also have an extra one dollar over $200,000,000 to Play with, along with the $999,999,999 which the new Source brings to the Round Table....... for a Win Win Win Situation in a very Temporal/Time Critical Environment.

    And as has already been shared regarding IBM, SPSS, ILOG & SAS ... By Anonymous Coward Posted Tuesday 28th July 2009 15:03 GMT ..... "A billion seems a bargain to me, if it can grab even a small percentage of SAS' market share." and should it be able to decimate it with an altogether superior performance product, then it would be a relative steal, which should they choose not to avail themselves of, will allow SAS or any other Savvy Player in such Great Games to decimate IBM and SPSS and their Contemporaries and their Opponents with such Alien Magic as would be an Assured Enabling PreCogniscence and Allied Cogniscenti ...... System Drivers.

    It is certainly something which is on the Table, albeit as you might rightly expect, Underground and Hush Hush to Maximise Insider PreInvestment/Parasitic/Piratical Return. :-) .... which appears to be the Default Capitalist Market Strategy in such Matters.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    SPSS seriously cheeky licencing

    One of the few software products that you don't buy, you rent.

    That's right kids, every year you need to purchase a new licence, otherwise the product simply stops working - no matter how old it is!

    It least the licence engine isn't as nightmarish as Mathworks' Matlab. Thankfully, Mathworks have made the licencing system so over-complex, that it doesn't work properly, so each year that you renew, the number of licences you purchase get added to last years, increasing the number of copies you can run.

    A very small payment in return for the anal aperture tearing price tag, the massivley burdensome licence server, and the non-standard installer that prevents administrative unattended installs.

    Call it compensation for the massive cost in needless man-hours lost on maintenance.

  15. Pete 8

    IBMSPSSILOGSAS is really a satanic angram for the following

    Slab Go Miss Piss

    Labs Smogs I Piss

    Labs Go Piss Miss

    Bags Lisp So Miss

    Sigma Piss Slobs

    As you were...

  16. Peter Mc Aulay

    Re: Whoah

    If the authorities are using SPSS to run experiments on the general populace then we have nothing to fear. All social science types I know fear & loathe SPSS with a passion.

  17. Martin 49
    Black Helicopters

    Actionable Foresight

    Minority Report

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