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Pentaho buys open-source data-mining project

Business intelligence start-up Pentaho buys the Weka project to fill out its suite.

Pentaho has acquired the Weka open-source data-mining project to fill out its business intelligence product suite.

The acquisition, announced on Tuesday, means the primary five contributors to the Weka project will be employees at Pentaho. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The Weka software, which came from the University of Waikato in New Zealand, is designed to analyze data trends. Retail companies, for example, use data-mining tools to segment customers and devise targeted marketing campaigns.

The software was developed in the mid 1990s and is widely used, said Richard Daley, the CEO of Pentaho.

The addition of the data-mining software creates a full-range of business intelligence tools and allows Pentaho to compete with data-mining specialists SAS and SPSS, Daley said.

Daley said the , where Pentaho sells a subscription service to customers and has a free version of its product, allows the company to offer lower prices than established vendors, such as Cognos and Business Objects.

Also, Pentaho engineers were able to design the company's Java-based products from scratch, and that has helped the company compete on features, he said.

"Customers usually bring us in on price first and once they start evaluating, they find that we're technically superior," he said.

The company intends to integrate Pentaho's data-extraction tools with the Weka software, he added. Pentaho has also developed open-source reporting and analytical tools.

"Having the (Weka) people onboard (as employees) helps make sure we're moving in the same direction in terms of a business intelligence suite. It's much easier to administer and be steward under one umbrella," Daley said.