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Ex-VMware CEO Diane Greene Picked To Run Google Cloud Efforts

As part of the deal, Google also agrees to buy her cloud startup, bebop.

Former VMware CEO Diane Greene has been out of the spotlight for years, ever since being unceremoniously dumped in 2008 by the company she helped co-found. But the spotlight has suddenly been thrust upon her again, as she's been tapped to head Google's cloud business.

The move came simultaneously with the Google purchase of her enterprise development platform startup, bebop. Bebop has been in stealth mode, and not much is known about it. But Greene isn't unknown to Google, having been on its Board of Directors since 2012. (Greene also sits on Intuit's Board of Directors).

"…we're so excited that Diane Greene will lead a new team combining all our cloud businesses, including Google for Work, Cloud Platform, and Google Apps," said Google CEO Sundar Pichai in a blog post. "This new business will bring together product, engineering, marketing and sales and allow us to operate in a much more integrated, coordinated fashion."

Greene, along with husband Mendel Rosenblum, were two of the five founding members of VMware in 1998. The company was acquired by EMC in 2004 for $635 million. That's considered a bargain, as VMware revenues now exceed $6 billion annually. After her ouster, Greene was replaced by Microsoft veteran Paul Maritz, who was at that time part of EMC. Maritz stepped down from VMware in September 2012, replaced by current CEO Pat Gelsinger.  

Google's cloud efforts could use a boost. It currently sits well behind market leader Amazon Web Services and second-place Microsoft Azure in usage. "Google is doing all these things, but it is not gaining enterprise mindshare. It's not pushing in the enterprise market as much as others." reports the New York times in an article, quoting Gartner Analyst Eric Knipp.

Pichai notes in his blog that "…more than 60% of the Fortune 500 are actively using a paid Google for Work product." That may be true, but Google still has yet to make significant penetration into enterprise datacenters. For example, analyst firm Wikibon listed Google fourth, behind Amazon, first 27.2 percent share; Microsoft next at 16.2 percent of the market; and IBM, at 11.8 percent. At 3.6 percent share, Google is closer to fifth-place Rackspace than third-place IBM.

Pichai is hopeful that adding Greene's long expertise in enterprise computing will help it climb that ladder. "We think this will help many more businesses find great applications, and reap the benefits of cloud computing. bebop and its stellar team will help us provide integrated cloud products at every level: end-user platforms like Android and Chromebooks, infrastructure and services in Google Cloud Platform, developer frameworks for mobile and enterprise users, and end-user applications like Gmail and Docs. Both Diane and the bebop team will join Google upon close of the acquisition."

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.

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