Search This Blog

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Gartner's Magic Quadrant Under Fire - Libelous Claim in Lawsuit

We all know the Magic Quadrant.

The Quadrant can make propel a product or company, if their dot ends in the top right; the Quadrant can destroy dreams, if said dot ends up bottom, left.

But who are the 1,200 or so "consultants" whose opinion is reflected by those dots?

And what kind of vetting goes on to insure large sponsors of Gartner's aren't given a wink, a nod, and a top-right position? Ummmmmmm...?

Skulduggery? Shenanigans? Bravo Sierra?

Well, ZL Technologies, that hugely popular Lotus Notes and Email archiving company, is alleging that Gartner was spreading libelous reports and failed to position ZL Technologies in the “Magic Quadrant”.

Wow, not even a dot.

Kon Leong, president and CEO of ZL Technologies, said,

"...It would be nice to know, of the vendors rated, how much money did they spend on Gartner? That factor is very similar to what the SEC enforced on Wall Street ratings agencies," he said. "This way the reader can say, 'I can factor that into my assessment.'

"The other transparency issue is with regard to the scores. If you go and describe 14 different parameters on which you score a company, then you neglect to show the scores, that entire exercise becomes meaningless."

Oh so, delicious.

The Gartner Magic Quadrant is a huge influence in the IT world. From copiers to storage - any product or service that could conceivably be used is judged.

And IT folks read the Quadrant; believe the Quadrant. If the Quadrant can't be trusted, the universe will lose balance.

And this turns up on the heels of Gartner announcing Xerox/Fuji in the Leaders Quadrant of 2009 Managed Print Services report. Gartner first introduced the MPS category of its Magic Quadrant report last year.

Stay tuned.

The complaint and documents can be found here.


  1. Greg,

    The same happened throughout IT Services 10 years ago, but not one hardware vendor leads the IT desktop managed services or business service management quadrant today.

    When I ran the European HP e-business program they wanted to supply their B2B e-procurement technology to the Fortune 500 companies directly. Not one customer used the system and so today the market leaders are; ARIBA, BasWare, PeopleSoft, Oracle, and ePlus. It is therefore unlikely that any hardware vendor is going to lead MPS business service management infrastructure for the long term.

    Jan Willem Kuipers

  2. Jan -

    It's interesting to me how simular things are between the IT world of 10-20 years past, and the copier/VAR/MPS ecosystem today.

    Back then, there was no such thing as IT and it was the Wild Days of copiers and fax.

    Today, the paradigm is shifting - for real - in the output niche, from hardware to services(again, for the what, the third time?)

    I agree with you, it is unlikely that any hardware vendor is going to lead MPS business.

    No matter who ends up in the upper right corner.

    Thanks for commenting!


  3. This brings up some very interesting and fundamental questions. If Gartner is found playing hankie pankie then who is next? Better Buys, Buyers lab, how about Bertl? Who can we trust, and is it buyer beware? Is everyone taking cash and promoting whom ever has the largest budget? It is interesting how everyone that isn’t in the spotlight always cries foul. I'm not saying that they do not have a right to; maybe they do. But what I am saying is anytime something is published whether it is an opinion like most of my writings or a report of findings some people will agree and some will not. It seems that the "will nots" are much louder than the "wills" I know even in my innocent ramblings I have had some people pretty upset. I have been turned into corporate HR and publicly shamed for having an opinion so what are we to do Greg? Just become robots? Should we put down the pen because others don’t like what we write? Should we write about utopian ideas and pretend that “everything” is equal and good, true and honest? Or do we just say to Hell with them and just keep writing? – More Ramblings from the (Censored) Pirate Mike

  4. Ummmm...Mike - 1st Amendment...?

    Have they forgotten? Probably voted for "The one" - he ignores the Constitution as well.

    Pertaining to the beginning of your comment, yes, the buyer beware.


    BERTL has sponsors.

    InfoTrends, ALL Associates, PC Mag, all of them have sponsors/lobbyists.

    GARTNER is not alone and it is a razors edge.

    We "trust" the views of others usually for two reasons:

    The Opinion coincides with ours

    Past Opinions expressed have come to fruition and proven just

    There is another angle, one of relevance.

    For example, when we, who know, see that HP is in the upper-right near Xerox, for MPS - it is a hollow opinion reflecting "enterprise" accounts, not the everyday, B2B Engagements.

    Doesn't make it a false opinion - because there is no such thing.

    But you sail into different waters, my seafaring friend, when you say you have been shamed...or even reported to H/R; good lord.

    We now have in our nation a component of the citizenry who are afraid of everything, especially an opinion. They confuse opinions with judgments. Because they themselves judge all - it's a sad situation. I blame the 60's.

    So no, we don't become robots.

    No, we don't put down the pen.

    Yes, we say to Hell with them.

    We don't stop.

    "The jaws of power are always open to devour, and her arm is always stretched out, if possible, to destroy the freedom of thinking, speaking, and writing."

    ~John Adams.

    Or better yet,

    "I wish to have no Connection with any Ship that does not Sail fast for I intend to go in harm's way."

    ~John Paul Jones

    Good Luck.


Contact Me

Greg Walters, Incorporated