Microsoft Acquires Revolution Analytics To Bolster Its Analytics Services

Microsoft today announced that it has acquired Revolution Analytics, an open-source analytics company with a strong focus on the highly popular R programming language for statistical computing. Microsoft says that it made this acquisition “to help more companies use the power of R and data science to unlock big data insights with advanced analytics.” The two companies did not disclose the financial details of the transaction.

Revolution Analytics offers a number of tools around the R language. Like many open-source projects, it offers many of them for free and then charges for things like consulting, technical support, training and indemnification packages. The company also offers an enterprise extension to R that allows for parallelized analytics and a cloud-based service that is available on demand through Amazon’s AWS Marketplace.

Revolution Analytics has raised just under $38 million since it was founded in 2007. Its investors include Intel Capital and North Bridge Venture Partners.

While it may still seem a bit odd for Microsoft to acquire an open-source company, it has actually invested quite heavily in its own open-source initiatives around .NET and other projects lately. As Revolution Analytics’ chief community officer David Smith notes, the company has also embraced Linux and Hadoop, and contributed to projects like Chef, Puppet, Docker and others.

Microsoft currently offers a number of big data and business analytics services. It’s unclear how it plans to integrate Revolution’s services into its current offerings.

“This acquisition will help customers use advanced analytics within Microsoft data platforms on-premises, in hybrid cloud environments and on Microsoft Azure,” writes Microsoft corporate vice president for machine learning Joseph Sirosh in today’s announcement. “By leveraging Revolution Analytics technology and services, we will empower enterprises, R developers and data scientists to more easily and cost-effectively build applications and analytics solutions at scale.”

Revolution Analytics says it will continue to offers its current product line-up and that for current customers, “nothing much will change with the acquisition.” Revolution currently supports about 150 R user groups and contributes to open source projects like ParallelR and RHadoop. Chances are, it will continue doing this, too.