SAS CEO baits rivals with 'old skool' trash talk

Some old-fashioned vendor baiting...

Some old-fashioned vendor baiting...

Dr Jim Goodnight, CEO of business intelligence giant SAS, rekindled the spirit and swagger of the tech boom with some baiting of his rivals that the outspoken Sun boss Scott McNealy would be proud of - as would Oracle chief Larry Ellison, if his company wasn't on the receiving end.

Such tech hostilities have gone quiet in recent years but Goodnight lit the blue touch paper with a largely light-hearted assault on his rivals which may have had company lawyers shifting uneasily in their seats at the SAS Forum International in Lisbon.

Of SAP he joked: "Germany is the poor man of Europe right now and we've done some studies which show there is a high correlation between [countries with struggling economies] and those with a high penetration of SAP."

Speaking about software developers - even his own - he joked that they will deliberately include bugs in their software "for their own job security".

"They put them in until people find them and pay them to take them out again," he said.

However, he was less forgiving of other companies which he claimed don't catch enough of those bugs before releasing their products.

"It's unfortunate that some people regard software companies with the same expectation of finding bugs. We've all had to live with Microsoft. We've all had to reboot because it keeps going down," he said.

"Oracle doesn't mind shipping with hundreds of thousands of bugs. They cut their R&D costs by letting their customers find those bugs," he told an auditorium of customers and press at a Lisbon conference centre.

"Even though our developers put the bugs in our testers still find them," he said.

And on the subject of rival firms being bought by industry giants, Goodnight said: "Every time something goes under IBM it is a benefit to us. Or Oracle for that matter."

Banging the drum for his own company, Goodnight also claimed helpdesk enquiries are answered within an average of around 30 seconds.

"Try calling Microsoft and see how long you're kept waiting for an answer," he said.