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NetScout and Gartner Continue to Spar Over Magic Quadrant

By RCR Wireless, Kelly Hill on February 17, 2015

NetScout and Gartner continue to battle over Gartner’s Magic Quadrant vendor ratings, and while the related court case slowly proceeds, the most recent report has fanned the flames.

NetScout initially filed a lawsuit against Gartner last August, alleging that the analyst firm’s Magic Quadrant ratings were essentially a “pay-to-play” model and that NetScout’s rating as a “challenger” in the network performance monitoring and diagnostics space was given because it had not hired Gartner for consulting services. Last year was the first time Gartner produced a Magic Quadrant rating for the NPMD space.

NetScout was notified in December that it would be included in the most recent report, according to NetScout VP of marketing Jim McNeil, and despite protests from the company, it was. The report was released last week and included 15 vendors in the space, according to Gartner’s summary. While NetScout acknowledges that Gartner has the right to write about whichever companies it pleases, McNeil said that NetScout believes companies should be able to decline inclusion, and that Gartner shouldn’t imply that its Magic Quadrant ratings provide apples-to-apples comparisons across vendors who have provided the analyst company with information, versus those that have not, such as NetScout.

“If they do not have access to the information they state is relevant to their report, then how can they include companies in the report and give the impression that they are making an informed decision?” McNeil said. He added that the most recent report includes a footnote that NetScout declined to participate, but “they still opine on NetScout’s position in the market in a rather disparaging way, even though companies like IDC and Frost & Sullivan recognize us as being market leaders.”

Contacted for comment, Gartner responded with a statement that said: “We are aware of a complaint filed by NetScout Systems, Inc. in a Connecticut court that stems from its unhappiness with NetScout’s placement in aGartner Magic Quadrant. While it’s not our practice to discuss pending litigation, we do consider this complaint to be without merit and intend to defend ourselves and the integrity of our research processes vigorously. We remain committed to providing our clients with independent research and advice about the products and services that we cover and upon which they have relied for decades.”

In its court filings, Gartner has gone into more detail. “This case is about an information technology vendor who is disgruntled by an opinion Gartner expressed regarding one of the vendor’s products, in an industry report Gartner publishes,” the company said in an early response to the suit.

“When, finally, [NetScout’s] allegations—which are in any event untrue—have been stripped to their factual essentials, they will become an empty shell stating no valid claim.”

The case continues to plod along, with the parties recently agreeing to terms of protecting sensitive and proprietary information that each is requesting from the other as well as arguing over the boundaries of the information being requested. It is not slated for trial until early 2016, if it reaches that point.

Gartner has a general outline of the processes and information used to form its Magic Quadrant ratings here, as well as information about the most recent NPMD report requirements in a blog post here. You can read the court filings related to the suit here.

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