Comparing Base SAS and SPSS is an age old question between analytics professionals as both of these are one of the longest running statistical softwares in the world.
While Base SAS is on version 9 + and has greatly improved it’s visual appeal to counter SPSS’s click and get results interface, SPSS has moved beyond version 15.0 + and started adding modules like SAS has done.
Here I will be comparing specific SAS and SPSS components like SAS ETS with SPSS Trends, and SAS Base /Stat with SPSS Base.
Base SAS is almost 1.75 times as expensive in upfront cost for a single installation than SPSS.
SAS ETS is better than SPSS Trends for time series analysis for bad data, but SPSS Trends can easily make huge numbers of time series analysis than SAS ETS.
SAS is more tougher to learn than the point and click interface of SPSS.
SPSS Documentation is much better and give better clarity on algorithms used for statistical procedures.
Base SAS is much more powerful for crunching huge numbers of data (like sorting or splicing data),
for data that is smaller than say 100 mb, the difference is not much between SAS and SPSS.
SPSS is a perpetual license, while SAS has year on year license. This eventually makes it 2-3 times more expensive.
Modeling is easier done in SPSS but SAS can provide more control thanks to command line interface/advanced editor coding.The SAS Enterprise is not as good a visual interface as the SPSS.
For a startup analytics body, the best installation for both SAS and SPSS is network licenses preferably over a Linux network. You should ideally have a mix of both SAS and SPSS to optimize both costs and analytical flexibility.
Other Comparisons with Base SAS (a SAS Institute Copyrighted Product ) can be found at http://www.ats.ucla.edu/stat/technicalreports/
or by searching packages at http://finzi.psych.upenn.edu/search.html