At InfoWorld's "Open Source" blog Salvio Rodrigues found R co-inventor Robert Gentleman's appointment to the REvolution Computing board "a great impetus for me to look at R again". He notes that both SAS and SPSS have recognized the opportunity presented by R:
I suspect that SPSS and SAS made their individual decisions based on three factors. First, they likely both realized that based on the penetration of SAS and SPSS in the statistical community, neither was going away anytime soon. Second, adding R support enabled both vendors to take advantage of the community of users building extensions and new statistical methods for R. Finally, both vendors likely realized that customers have different skills and analysis needs, and as such, R would be used in conjunction with SAS and SPSS's programming languages for statistical analysis.
By the way, Robert Gentleman's appointment was also noted by Greg Laden at scienceblogs.com.
InfoWorld Open Sources: SAS and IBM/SPSS rise to the open source R opportunity