I spec systems based on the needs of the client, the systems are just a means to a desired result.
I run a consulting company who writes specs, handles the bidding process and in many cases manages the system deployment on behalf of the client.
Additionally, I also own a portion of an integration concierge firm, doing only large scale projects around the world & servicing large integrated systems.
Both systems are great and both have strengths over each other. So, what matters is that you end up with the system that has the strengths which you prefer.
As for the rumors about Savant crushing Crestron in sales or Crestron being better built than Savant... It's all a bunch of crap that is likely originated by rep firms for each manufacturer. The only real fact you could point to is this... Crestron is a 600m a year company, Savant did 22m last year... Which while it was almost double the year before, is still a long way from 600m.
Ultimately, the strengths are clear...
If you are an Apple nut, if you want a completely integrated solution complete with phone system, if you love iTunes, if you like the Savant user interface, likely a lower cost of ongoing service, a system built with the premise of "we can make it do whatever you want but this is how we do it"... If this is you, Savant may be a better option.
If you want a company with 35years of control experience, a company who is not at the mercy of Apple; who could make a change tomorrow & negatively impact their organization, a huge support base, a system that supports Apple as well as Android, Windows, Flash; a company who offers a complete & VERY comprehensive selection of subsystems, a system built with the premise of, " Because what we think is right may not be right for you, we just give you a blank canvas". If this sounds like you, Crestron may be the right solution.
The other side of this is of course the competency of the integrator. I will say that while a crappy programmer can make a disaster of either system, it is much more difficult for someone to screw up a Savant system, simply because it's more of a configuration process in software than it is programming like in Crestron world. This does not necessarily mean your going to have more trouble with Crestron, it just means you need to be more concerned with the programmers competency with Crestron.
All that said, I would never leave this completely up to my clients, when we create our designs, we gather a lot of info which guides us to the right solution for the client... But in its most raw form, we start with the User interfaces... 90% of the time, clients end up with a system based on being drawn to a user interface style.
As for my preference personally, I really don't have one. I have Crestron in my house but that's mainly because I could afford it (got free for selling lots of Crestron). All I can tell you is Savant is the first company to come along that I feel has the ability to force many of the big guys to rethink they're business model.
Send me a private message to respond as I don't subscribe to the threads & don't frequent the forum often.