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How Long Will EMC and VMware Co-Exist Under the Same Umbrella?

The EMC and VMware relationship seems to have been a good one, at least from the outside looking in.  Rumors of a VMware acquisition by different players over the years popped up now and again, and I was perhaps one of the few people out here that was surprised at first when EMC announced they were going to buy the virtualization giant.  Still, that acquisition proved to be a huge win for EMC.  But now that the company has spun off 10% of VMware, and now that VMware is on target to possibly pass up EMC's market cap (VMware is currently at about $32 billion while EMC is sitting around $43 billion), is that relationship going to last?  Or is the child starting to outgrow the parent?

Here's what The Register had to say:

Even with the analysts hyping EMC at the same time they hype VMware, the very real possibility exists that VMware's valuation will in fact jump right past EMC's. But that's all just paper nonsense in the end, right?

Well, I've heard rumors that VMware CEO Diane Greene and EMC CEO Joe Tucci already have a strained relationship. These are only rumors, mind you, and nothing more.

Even if things have yet to reach Tension Point, however, they almost certainly will in the coming months should VMware's stock keep soaring. Why should the flashy, nimble VMware remain controlled by a lumbering disk vendor like EMC, especially if VMware is mightier on paper than EMC? Why should Greene be bullied by five - out of six - board members with very strong - often direct - ties to EMC? Why should VMware be weighed down by EMC's baggage? Let's not forget that the company competes against VMware's strongest allies.

Why should VMware spend time worrying about doing more than its fair share of product tie-in work to keep its software running well with EMC hardware when it has new friends like Intel and Cisco to woo? And, lastly, why should VMware do all this dirty work on Wall Street only to see Tucci get a pat on the back for a job well done?

VMware's rocketing share price would seem to exacerbate any existing tensions. In addition, it may well create new tensions. Will Greene take any guff at all from Tucci and Co. when she's responsible for the storage vendor's Wall Street revitalization? I can't help but wonder if Greene doesn't eye that EMC CEO post.

The analysts are only dishing out what they believe and desire. But they and investors seem to be pushing these two companies - one locked inside the other - toward an uncomfortable if not untenable position.

It's nice for EMC to ride VMware's coattails getting attention and hefty amounts of software revenue. The storage vendor secured what looks like the bargain of the decade by purchasing VMware for a cool $600m. But I've got to believe that not spinning VMware out all the way will end up as a mistake.

 Read the entire article from The Register, here.

Published Monday, October 01, 2007 5:48 AM by David Marshall
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