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M&A Analysis: How sound is VMware's acquisition strategy?

With all the talk about VMware going after Redhat, sometime back VMware for BEA and what not, got me wondering about the products and acquisitions VMware has done in the past.

If you listen to the valleywag, it seemed like Diane was getting rather restless and was talking to lots of folks, Intel, Cisco, Redhat (apparently from the latest rumors). Obviously a lot is also speculation. I still stand by my advice smetime back that VMware should have gone for BEA, anyways.

The point of this whole analysis/open discussion is to understand what may be the real problem with VMware's growth in the near future. ESxi got free so the focus comes on the tools that they have. What if they don't sell as promised? Is there a plan to do something with the tools? What has been told to the shareholders/investors? My investor friends in the valley are telling me that this is soon going to be a huge problem within the board.

Excerpt from the LinkedIn discussion:

VMware has made several acquisitions in the past but have not been able to successfully integrate and roll-out those products to the markets. They have been able to bring them out but the market suddenly got crowded and the integrated products somehow were never able gain traction.

There have been Akimbi/Lab Manager, Lide Cycle Manager, Propero/VDM, Thinstall/ThinApp and they were a lot more attractive before they got acquired. What is really interesting to note is that the products completely vanish in the VMware portfolio even though they do have a VMware logo and are named something else. They somehow are not able to pull along with the ESX offerings.

This was also an issue with the shareholders and EMC board the even though VMware was dishing out the products quickly, it still lacked the expertise to integrate those products with their star offering, which is now free. This may have created a whole lot of products but they are not really as excitable as its flagship offering.

So VMware makes its flagship product free (ESXi) and people would rather buy some other Orchestrator (Embotics), Lab Manager (Surgient, VMlogix), Virtual Manager (Dynamic Ops, Symantec, SCVMM etc), Application Virtualization(Citrix, Microsoft App-V) etc, then how are they going to make money?

Their poor judgment of ever-evolving market dynamics may be end up being a costly mistake, it has definitely put EMC under tremendous pressure.

Respond here or in the LinkedIn discussion.

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