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It’s True. VMware Trades Maritz for Gelsinger, WSJ Says

Gelsinger will evidently be anointed CEO of EMC when Tucci finally vacates the post

Paul Maritz, the one-time high-ranking Microsoftee who's been CEO of VMware for the last four years, is stepping down and will be replaced by EMC COO and Intel veteran Pat Gelsinger, the Wall Street Journal says.

The story broke late Monday night in a scoop by CRN.

Nobody was sure if Maritz was staying or going. Gelsinger has been bruited as a possible replacement for EMC CEO Joe Tucci when he finally retires but now it's speculated that Maritz could replace Tucci.

Back when Bill Gates was still running Microsoft, Maritz was said to be the third most powerful executive there after Steve Ballmer.

Bloomberg was singular in getting through to Maritz only to be told the report was "just speculation," which resolved nothing and in fact fanned the flames.

The Wall Street Journal then waded in quoting "people familiar with the matter" saying it was all true and that Maritz is going to be vice-chairman of EMC while Gelsinger makes his bones running a major company as "part of a broader succession planning effort at EMC."

Provided he doesn't screw up, Gelsinger will evidently be anointed CEO of EMC when Tucci finally vacates the post, which is why Gelsinger went to EMC in the first place. What happens to Maritz is unclear.

GigaOm is also running a story saying VMware, a subsidiary of EMC, is considering spinning out its open source, increasingly cloud-neutral Cloud Foundry Platform-as-a-Service as a separate EMC subsidiary along with EMC's Greenplum Hadoop/Big Data business and the nascent VMware-EMC Infrastructure-as-a-Service joint venture Project Rubicon.

It thinks that Tod Nielsen, co-president of VMware's application platform business, or Mark Lucovsky, VP of engineering in charge of Cloud Foundry, could be put in charge on the spin-out, aimed at building a cloud computing services company to compete with Google, Microsoft and Amazon. Others think it's Maritz.

After the CRN story broke GigaOm said there were rumors Maritz had been offered the chairmanship of Cloud Foundry. It also suggested there are substantive reasons why Maritz may be out.

It said, "If Maritz is indeed out at the company after four years at the helm, it may be because VMware has let its lead on virtualization - its core business - slide while pursuing enterprise applications and higher-level software.... Instead of buying things like Zimbra from Yahoo, VMware needed to keep its eye on the management of scaled-out enterprise infrastructure, focusing on building software to monitor and manage multiple cloud environments and span hybrid clouds."

The blog came back later to say that VMware left its bread-and-butter server virtualization business exposed to exploitation. Quoting a critic it said VMware's heavy-handed vSphere price hikes last year "kicked the door open for Microsoft Hyper-V." Xen and Red Hat's KVM also benefited.

Tier1 Research analyst Carl Brooks told GigaOm that VMware needs "to continue to move into true multiple resource and multiple environment management and do it quick or there's a real risk they could be the Novell of the cloud five or 10 years from now."

Last week EMC said its vice-chairman Bill Teuber would get responsibility for strategy and business development in emerging markets while Bill Scannell replaces him as president of global sales and customer operations.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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