Gartner Group

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This is a quick introduction to the Gartner Group and ways in which it really operates. Appended below is an almost-complete list of our posts about the Gartner Group. The mass of evidence available requires that a concise introduction is provided to newcomers.

The Gartner Group is in the business of providing recommendations of vendors to companies or other vendors. Gartner Group is a large and very profitable business. It is large enough to have attracted large investors such as Bill Gates and Larry Ellison, both of whom are business leaders of firms that Gartner assesses. This already makes a conflict of interests. Gartner's recommendations are provided in all sorts of forms, including what it calls "Magic Quadrant". Gartner operates by providing reports to firms that request them, usually handling data and methods that are selected or designed to produce the required outcome. The firm which pays Gartner to produce a report expects it to be positive. In turn, in order to invite future business, a mutual relationship needs to be formed; the companies which Gartner praises have to respect Gartner in public and hopefully pay Gartner too (in internal documents, Microsoft alleges that "Analysts sell out - that’s their business model [...] But they are very concerned that they never look like they are selling out, so that makes them very prickly to work with. [...] "Independent" consultants should write columns and articles, give conference presentations and moderate stacked panels, all on our behalf (and setting them up as experts in the new technology, available for just $200/hour").

The Gartner Group has been caught deceiving many times in the past. It makes incorrect predictions, yet almost nobody dares to call them on it. Backlash from Gartner is unhealthy to one's business as Gartner is able to 'punish' its critics by giving them negative ratings. In 2009, Gartner was sued (see the "Lawsuits" section below) for "libel" or its conflict of interests, after it had allegedly penalised a company for not being among those that hire Gartner. Also in 2009 we found that Gartner censors reporters in the sense that it forbade mentioning of the word "Gartner" by a reporter. This type of iron-fisted control of one's brand and reputation led us to comically calling Gartner the "Gangster Group". As indicated above, a lot of its business model is based on a form of gentle bribes, where this term simply refers to a case where one's judgment and assessment are based on sources of income, which are handled neither transparently nor honourably.

Gartner was openly criticised by IT professionals for interfering with the market and instructing it rather than observing it. Gartner was also caught negotiating with its clients how their products would be publicly covered and it sometimes invites guests from some of those very same companies, with which its analysts literally have meals and work with. Gartner tends to measure whatever is necessary in order to support a position that brings profit (there are "lies, damned lies, and statistics," as the famous saying goes).

In 2008, government CIO John Suffolk said to Gartner: “I think we have fundamentally failed on a worldwide basis as an IT industry to understand the cost of what we do. And I roundly blame Gartner for this, because you guys are the ones who come up with TCO [total cost of ownership] benchmarking. It has become a self-fulfilling prophecy." Court material that we got hold of shows Microsoft writing to say that it "Successfully lobbied and changed the Gartner Group TCO model to show Windows as providing the lowest overall TCO". There were other questionable deals being struck between Gartner and Microsoft. This is typical. In October of 2006, Microsoft wrote that: "[Gartner's] David Smith commented that Gartner will not bash MS if MS chooses to slip Vista." In February of 2007, Gartner wrote: “Sooner or later, most organizations will deploy Windows Vista. Learn how Gartner can help you understand what the effects will be, what the benefits are and how much it will cost, so you can decide how fast to move.”

Gartner was of course very wrong and Vista was voted one of the worst technology products by several technology Web sites. Gartner also deceived about the security of Vista and it made a lot of errors regarding patents and ODF, along with the Burton Group which it acquired (major conflicts of interests there). In May 2009, Europe's decision regarding Free software was questioned by a politician after Gartner had intervened; specifically, it was an analyst who is very close to Microsoft and as usual, lies were used (1, 2). It becomes problematic when Gartner interjects itself into the press where it is perceived as a knowledgeable authority.

In summary, Gartner has found a way to profit from relationships with clients which are paying it a lot of money while also being assessed. Gartner was caught breaking its own promises/policies and it was even sued by a company that understands how Gartner really operates and how this harms the industry.






Other similar groups whose Microsoft bias (paid-for) we showed in the past are: Forrester, IDC, and Yankee Group.

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