Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts (Timeo Danaos et Dona Ferentis)

I wrote the following article over a year ago entitled “Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts.” Today, I was shown a real world example of what I was writing about, by reference to a lawsuit by one LIMS vendor against another.  This entertaining but pathetic lawsuit is a bit of a soap opera and really is quite sad to see the lengths that vendors will go to in attempts to disparage each other to clients.  Finally, check out this suit that a LIMS vendor initiated to thwart an employee from changing jobs:

The Moral of the Story:

If you find a LIMS vendor that would disparage another vendor, BEWARE.  They are not doing it for your good no matter how craftily the words are presented.

There is an ancient saying that comes from the story of the Trojan horse: Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.  This saying is timeless and applies to many situations in life.  For LIMS customers, this saying is particularly good advice.

The LIMS industry, like most any industry today, is highly competitive.  In today’s economic times, you will start to see some unethical and desperate behavior by some vendors.  This is directly applicable to that ancient phrase and applies to LIMS vendors who would disparage their competitors by spreading rumors and misinformation about anyone who is more competitive technically, financially, or simply has a better performance record.  They will “share” information with you as your friend to get you to reconsider their offering but consider the source and motives.

Don’t support such lame behavior and discourage competitors from talking about each other.  Be wary of any vendor who would slur or disparage another vendor.  It is a clear case of Greeks bearing gifts.  These are clearly gifts with a barb and they will never serve you in any way.  Your best solution to fight this sort of problem is to keep things competitive but private.  Do not let vendors know who is directly competing and force them to focus on what makes them the best choice and ask the vendors to provide both their good and bad references.  It is a sad state of affairs for the desperate vendor who can only sell their product by attempting to tear down other offerings that are clearly superior.

Remember…  there is another ancient saying that is good to live by: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”


  1. Michael Hatton says:

    I am interested in the real motive behind bringing up this old case. Lots of water under the bridge since this event and Thermo is a differently managed company today.

  2. Michael,

    The motive is exactly as stated in the blog. I would like to see every LIMS vendor sell in a such a way that they focus on the customer and presenting how their products and services are unique and of good value. I do not want to see folks sell by tearing others down.

    It is like negative campainging in politics. Everyone finds it repulsive but at the end of the day what do we see politicians do?

    So, there is no other motives than purely this. The external references are provided as a public disclosure of examples of bad practices.

  3. Michael Hatton says:

    Quite frankly, I see this as negative campaigning on your behalf. Let’s use this forum to promote LIMS and LIMS vendors positively.

    • I am sorry that you see this as negative campaigning. I see this article as being far from negative and in fact quite positive. It provides guidance as to good behaviour and it provides examples of bad behaviour. From your previous comment it appears that Thermo regrets some of its actions in the past which is fine. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Both I and my company have done numerous things we regret. From what you say, Thermo has learned from its mistakes and LabLynx has learned from its mistakes. What you can count on is that neither myself or LabLynx will ever mention the names of our competitors to our potential customers. We will stay focused on our products and their suitability to our customers. We will leave it to our customers to judge our company and products and we will not engage in competing by tearing down the competition.

  4. Michael Hatton says:

    I am not interested in any company viewpoint, just the negativity of bringing up this type of issue. I am well aware that companies look to see who has had issues, but I find negative selling to be hard to counter, so its best to stay clear of it. Pointing out coincidencies is sort of acceptable. Anyway, who knows whether people learn from their mistakes until the next event turns up.

  5. I am interested in hearing all sorts of viewpoints. I like hearing your viewpoint and hope that all who read this blog learn from your viewpoint and respect it.

    It does sound to me like we are on the same page with respect to the objectives.

    Thanks for the candid and thoughtful replies.

  6. Michael Hatton says:

    Your are right John. Keep up the good work.

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