Microsoft acquires Revolution Analytics

The following post originally appeared on the Mango Solutions blog though after posting it, it occurred to me that, on the other hand the acquisition could just be a pure cloud play. I think MS would be missing a trick by not integrating R with their database offerings as Oracle have done, but it wouldn’t be the first time they did something that didn’t entirely make any sense.

Bringing A Revolution to Microsoft

In a move that further validates the entire R community, our good friends and colleagues at Revolution Analytics announced their acquisition by Microsoft on Friday. In the short term, Revolution are expecting no significant changes to their business, however, it’s not hard to see where this might lead. It’s already well known that Revolution analysts have worked with Microsoft, most notably in analysing data from the Xbox live service.

This is potentially just the tip of the iceberg though. Oracle already have their advanced analytics offering which puts R (Oracle R Enterprise) right inside their database products and HP have Distributed R, for use with their Vertica databases. Microsoft are now in a very good position to follow suit; bundling R with SQLServer would be a very compelling product for many enterprise customers already plugged into the Microsoft ecosystem. Having access to advanced statistical software directly alongside your data storage platform is rapidly becoming an essential feature among the big database vendors. Mango’s customers are increasingly non statistically trained users who want to be able to deploy analytics in a database environment in a manner that fits existing architectures and infrastructures.

It’s also worth remembering that Microsoft are the vendors of the most used (and possibly abused!) “Statistical” (!!) software in the world in the form of Excel.

Perhaps Microsoft will provide some further integration with R there, to keep power users in the fold. There are an Abundance of opportunities for Microsoft to extend their analytics reach extensively, an area that has not traditionally been central for them.

Mango have been providing R consulting and training services for over 12 years, and in that time we’ve seen the popularity of R increase dramatically. There are now R user groups spread all over the world. One of our own user groups, LondonR has almost a thousand members. There are global scale R conferences like useR and EARL, that attract hundreds of attendees each year. More and more companies are using R everyday. The community that exists around R continues to gain momentum and there are an increasing number of converts to its power and flexibility. R even has its own celebrity programmers (I’ll leave the guessing of names to the reader)!

We’d like to congratulate the team at Revolution, and indeed Microsoft, on behalf of everyone at Mango. It’s a fascinating acquisition at a great time, and we hope you’ll agree, great news for R.