Big data analytics outfit Splunk will no longer be big in Russia after the company confirmed plans to stop selling its wares there.
Reflecting what Splunk referred to as “shifting priorities”, neither it nor its resellers will be flinging software or services to organisations in Russia. Existing customers will keep getting support, but once those contracts run out, it’s “do svidaniya, comrade”.
The announcement was light on detail regarding the thinking behind the decision, saying only that the company was focusing on the greatest return on investment for the business. Just like the vast majority of companies that continue to do business with Russia.
Splunk’s senior veep for global affairs, Lenny Stein, spoke at techUK’s Data Ethics Summit in 2018, and the company reckoned data ethics are fundamental. “We are calling for more data literacy and responsible AI development,” he said. “However, we are also proposing that organisations establish ethical practices as the norm.”
Flogging software to the Putin regime may not sit well with such noble statements. However, authoritarian governments haven’t stopped the company gaining a foothold in China, where it has offices in Hong Kong, Beijing and an R&D site in Shanghai.
Alternatively, Russian plans to chainsaw its internet links to the rest of the world (if the need arises) may have given Splunk’s San Francisco-based HQ a bad case of the jitters.
Splunk is all about slurping vast amounts of machine-generated data and analysing it, with AI and machine learning tools giving customers “actionable and predictive insights”. Unless, it would seem, those customers are in Russia.
The Register asked Splunk for the detail behind the reasons and the impact the departure could have on its bottom line, but the company has yet to reply. In its latest set of results for its third quarter of fiscal 2019, Splunk reported (PDF) total revenues of $481m, up 40 per cent on the same period last year, and a net loss of $55.7m, and forecast over $2bn in expected revenue over the coming year.
Its latest investor filing cheerfully looked out to 2020 (when its CFO Dave Conte would be retiring) but did not mention that it would be pulling out of the 11th biggest economy in the world (by GDP and according to the World Bank) in the first part of 2019. ®
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