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Enterprise Cos. Cry Foul Over ‘Open’ Data Alliance

When three big enterprise software companies announced last month they had agreed to a set of common tools for analyzing big data, it may have seemed like just another boring partnership in the world of business software.

But the agreement between Pivotal, Hortonworks and IBM was much more. The creation of the so-called Open Data Platform set the stage for a brewing war over technologies to help big companies crunch data quickly.

Interviews with key participants show hardball backroom tactics, millions of dollars in membership dues and veiled jockeying among tech giants like Intel, IBM and storage giant EMC for influence over an open-source technology called Hadoop.

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“Our advantage is that we know [Intel’s intentions] in advance, but we contribute it,” Mr. Reilly said. “So it’s a very non-threatening relationship, unless you have chips that compete with Intel’s chips.”

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“You’ve got all these other vendors aligned with Hortonworks, and you’ve got Cloudera aligned with Intel,” said Hortonworks President Herb Cunitz. “It’s everyone else against these two.”