Credibility of Gartner's Magic Quadrant Questioned in Lawsuit

Ann All

A few weeks ago I referred to Gartner's Magic Quadrant when I wrote about how social channels like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are affecting the business of companies selling IT research. I cited a post by Deal Architect Vinnie Mirchandani in which he encouraged Gartner to be more forthcoming about the revenue it receives from vendors and also to tweak its Magic Quadrant methodology so that newer, smaller vendors would receive the same consideration as incumbents.


Mirchandani certainly wasn't the first to question the Magic Quadrant. Last summer IT Business Edge blogger Dennis Byron wrote about "play for play" concerns with Gartner's Quadrant, sharing some comments from a LinkedIn discussion on the topic.


And now the perhaps inevitable shoe has dropped, with a company called ZL Technologies, a provider of e-mail and file archiving, suing Gartner over the Quadrant, claiming it favors paying Gartner clients. Writing on SiliconValleyWatcher, Tom Foremski shares some details of the complaint, with most of the claims sounding awfully similar to those found on LinkedIn and other forums. Among the allegations:


  • Gartner rewards vendors with bigger sales and marketing budgets.
  • Gartner doesn't disclose enough about how it evaluates and scores Quadrant companies.
  • Gartner has no impartial ombudsman to address complaints about the process.
  • Gartner doesn't disclose the revenues it receives from Quadrant companies.


If it doesn't get anything else out of the lawsuit, it seems pretty certain ZL Technologies will earn some publicity. Whether Gartner will make any changes to its Magic Quadrant methodology remains to be seen. As Foremski notes, the lawsuit will be "welcomed by many IT vendors, especially startups conserving capital and without the means to hire Gartner."

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Oct 22, 2009 6:26 AM Judy Sheets Judy Sheets  says:

I am not a fan of Gartner, but no one could have been DUMBER than ZL. When gartner made the report they had collected inputs from all other vendors. So clearly the visibility that Gartner had was not the same visibility that ZL had. Maybe ZL cannot cope up with the current economic stress. Shouldn't ZL be focusing on webinars, seminars, go-to-meetings, expos and other sales and marketing things that help it get more business? More than a decade back 3Com was bigger than Cisco. Cisco worked on their marketing machinery to move ahead of 3Com. They did not become cry little babies like ZL. Cisco is now the leader in Enterprise. So is ZL going to sue Cisco too because Cisco dominates the market.


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