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VMware, Dell CEOs Downplay Talk of Dell Interference

VMware's Pat Gelsinger recounts episode of support from Dell.

A big question has been asked repeatedly since the Dell buyout of VMware parent company EMC was announced last October: How hands-on will Dell be with VMware? Some insight into that was gained during a press briefing earlier today with VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger and Dell CEO/founder Michael Dell.

It's generally accepted that one reason VMware has done so well over the years is that EMC hasn't interfered with the company's operations. Although Michael Dell has said he would exercise the same restraint, it's impossible to know for sure.

At the briefing, the following scenario was presented: Gelsinger went to Michael Dell with a new direction for VMware. Dell thinks the change would be disastrous for VMware. Who wins that argument?

Gelsinger, answering first, pointed to a situation that had already happened. It involved a partnership with IBM that VMware had explored. "IBM's not a particularly great partner with Dell," Gelsinger pointed out. "They compete in different areas."

Gelsinger said the idea was presented to the VMware board, and Michael Dell didn't veto the proposal, according to Gelsinger. In fact, he said, the opposite happened: "Michael's comment was, very quickly, ‘That's good for VMware, you should do it.'" (Gelsinger didn't elaborate on the exact IBM partnership he referred to, but it may have been the IBM cloud agreement announced at Monday's keynote.)

"We're going to grow VMware as fast as possible in the future," Gelsinger added. "That's what our agenda is; satisfy the customers, grow the business as fast as we can… and make good decisions going forward."

Dell said the scenario presented was far-fetched. "I think there's a tight alignment of interests there. The scenario you outlined is probably unlikely, given the alignment of interests."

"What I'll tell you is that we've had a great working relationship, even before this was announced, and we've kicked our existing alliance into a whole new gear. And I think that's working spectacularly well."

Dell did note, however, that "We're just getting started. We're not quite at the phase of our Day One celebration."

About the Author

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

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