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Investor Question: How to Define Palantir

Question: Is data analytics firm Palantir a software or services company? The answer may determine whether you think it’s worth $20 billion or $8 billion.

Palantir uses software it has designed to mine data on behalf of companies and government agencies, helping address everything from cybersecurity to supply chain efficiency. While there’s obviously a software element to its business, some portion of its revenues come from services—setting up and implementing one-time projects, rather than licensing technology.

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Different views about how Palantir should be categorized may explain why some mutual funds have marked down Palantir shares as much as 67%.