Probably you have already heard about the last EMC’s acquisition: Greenplum. You can already find a lot of articles all around the blogosphere (1,2,3,4) but I would like to add my 2 cents on this topic.
This acquisition, among others, is a step forward on their good evolutionary strategy from a storage vendor to a “data and informations processes management” company. Probably, the final goal, is to battle against IBM, HP or Oracle on the high end services and software more than on the infrastructure itself and they are creating a new portfolio of solutions to manage processes that govern data more than the data itself.
Furthermore, EMC is the worldwide leader in storage sales but their technological leadership is mined from next generation storage vendors (i.e.: I can name here Compellent, NetApp, 3Par). These storage vendors are smaller but they are growing faster and they are outperforming the storage market trends!
On the other hand, EMC has 1/3 of the market share, so if someone grows more than the market is simple to find where these new guys are catching their customers from! EMC is losing because they have a lot of products but never the best one and often not well integrated with the rest of its portfolio.
So here you are why EMC is trying to change the game: in storage-infrastructure-only deals they are losers anyway because they haven’t the best technology so they need to decide whether to lose the deal or slash the price to compete!
Slashing prices isn’t a good strategy and you can’t go that way for a long time (investors want to see revenues and earning) so the best way to defend revenues and earning is to attack… They can’t defend themselves on the technology side (Vplex only is the last failing –acquired– example: more a science experiment than an usable product), it’s better to attack in a new field.