Information Management Blogs
August 3, 2010
With victory in hand, WPL will now have access to a large SAS customer base that had been effectively frozen by the uncertainty surrounding the litigation. Many SAS customers I know initially scoffed at WPL, opining that SAS would simply wear them down by outspending in a protracted legal fight, causing WPL to go broke or otherwise cry uncle. What's $20M to the largest analytics company in the world, they asked? Well, it now seems they have their answer: Who cares? David has tripped up Goliath.
Why all the fuss about WPS? It's simple: economics. SAS is very expensive and has a draconian annual licensing policy. WPS can potentially replace many of those licenses at a fraction of the cost. There's a ton of legacy data step programming at SAS customers currently - work that has much more to do with routine data access/manipulation/reporting than with SAS's advanced statistical capabilities. What was a vanguard programming environment in 1985 is dated today, and yet many companies maintain SAS licenses for straightforward programming tasks unabated. Their legacy programs have been running expensive Base SAS programs for years, helping to fuel SAS's unparalleled growth. That largesse is now threatened by WPS. SAS companies willing to invest in what should be a straightforward migration of many of their data step programs might save a king's ransom in licensing fees.
... How about taking a look at the R Project for Statistical Computing for new statistical challenges? The Base SAS language, be it either the SAS or WPS dialects, is dated, over 30 years old. After 20 years with SAS, I made the switch to R ten years ago and have never looked back. Object orientation trumps macros every time, just as powerful vector/matrix/array functions/operators trump "do loops". Even SAS diehards acknowledge there's no comparison between the graphics capabilities of R and SAS. I just completed a predictive modeling project where I experimented with Generalized Additive Models, MARS, Support Vector Machines, Random Forests, Boosted Linear Models and Boosted Trees - all of which were developed by the R community and are available for free. Not sure you'll find all those capabilities in Enterprise Miner.
Editor: For a different perspective on SAS vs WPS, see
Court finds World Programming Ltd. Infringed on SAS Copyrights; refers case to European Court of Justice
WPL claim of "High Court victory" is false
Software Innovation At Stake in SAS Suit, by By Doug Henschen, InformationWeek, August 4, 2010
Does World Programming's SAS clone infringe on copyrights? Pending court ruling could put tech investment in jeopardy.