Industry Analysts Got It Wrong on VMware CEO Transition From Paul Maritz to Pat Gelsinger

I’ve been covering and watching the (mostly negative) commentary over the last couple of days about the change in leadership at VMware from other blogs and specifically the analyst sector.  I really have to wonder, who are these so called experts? Do they even understand the markets and companies that they report on?

SiliconANGLE’s team has been covering the enterprise for decades and has had a front seat view to VMware with respect to the legacy companies as well as the startups.  It’s clear to me that VMware has a focused plan to extend beyond just virtualization and it’s about being a supplier of technology solutions to power applications.

Let me break down my views on VMware and Pat Gelsinger.

Since VMware announced that Paul Maritz would be succeeded by EMC’s COO Pat Gelsinger as CEO, the market has moaned that VMware is practically on the precipice of failure, that Microsoft is eating away at their hypervisor market share because Maritz allowed it to happen, that Gelsinger was given this role because he was passed over to replace Tucci at EMC and will be inadequate because he failed to react quickly to multicore adoption while at Intel. According to many of the experts, the best VMware can hope for is to distance themselves from EMC so that the faithful followers can return.


Do these analyst have ANY concept about how far VMware has come over the last five years and how well placed EMC is for the next five years.  Paul Maritz was a senior Microsoft veteran when he joined VMware in 2008 and took the company from selling the best hypervisor in town to reorienting around creating a foundation for the next generation datacenter.

IT Transformation was Maritz’s vision and he took the company out of its start-up, drinking from the fire-hose mentality to the company that was going to change the face of IT.  He was not shy about espousing a Microsoft-free world. And just in case the analysts are listening, he wasn’t talking about crushing Hyper-V (who cares), he was talking about replacing legacy applications and platforms.  And so, after more than 20 acquisitions in 4 years, the company has set out on its journey to build an entirely new IT market and platform, where applications are built specifically for scale, where massive data-sets will be aggregated and analyzed in real time, where on-premise or off-premise datacenters are an option and where the conversation shifts from IT consolidation to business growth.  Springsource and Zimbra were the first acquisitions that made me sit up and take notice that VMware was taking no prisoners and that the established software companies better pay attention.

With these acquisitions, Martiz went straight to the developer community and basically said, there is a different way. Far from opening the door to Microsoft, he put them on the defensive.  Microsoft has spent billions to carve out less than 20% market share in virtualization. And they continue to do it because they know better than any other company the power of volume in software licensing. Microsoft is today the Linux of the virtualization market and is wise to keep investing there.

Believe me; Maritz wasn’t pushed out the door and Pat Gelsinger he was not passed over for CEO job at EMC.  So to say that Gelsinger is marrying the ugly step sister because he wasn’t wanted by Cinderella is complete nonsense.  I’d say that he actually has the best job at EMC.  VMware is 60%+ of EMCs market cap, its where all the change and innovation will take place at the company.  EMC is the infrastructure play and VMware is the application play.  VMware an application focused company is where Pat Gelsinger will shine.  New apps, new platforms, new management paradigms, new partnerships & alliances this is the dream job for any serious IT executive and Pat Gelsinger will be in product heaven over there.

The next 5 years will mean navigating substantial change around converged infrastructure and big data (our top coverage areas at, theCUBE, and  Let’s face it, VMware is already the default platform for the datacenter, it’s theirs to build upon.  And if EMC plays their cards right, they can operationalize their server and storage business to support both legacy scale-up datacenters as well as the emerging scale-out datacenter.  If they build a best-in-class services team behind it, they control how quickly they have to eat their own dog food.

VMware basically can’t lose. They will be playing both sides of the fence in a market where storage doubles every two years. This doesn’t take creativity or innovation, it takes rock solid execution.  Gelsinger has the experience to build new.  He lived this type of sea-change once before, he knows what’s coming.  If I were him, far from running away from the mother ship, I’d build a business as quickly as possible that aligned all the software, hardware and services teams together from both a strategy and product standpoint. I’d reward cross-selling between EMC and VMware sales reps and I’d set my company up to make customer adoption seamless. Like IBM and Microsoft do. I’d also do this with all of EMC’s competitors.

Analyst got it wrong mainly because they were looking in the wrong places for where the market is going.

Interested in hearing Pat Gelsinger’s views on tech then follow this link to a post that I wrote called “The Best of Pat Gelsinger”.