My latest meeting with the boys on the strategy committee caused me to reappraise a few things. Our biggest threat is HP. As I spoke of in my last communication, Mark Hurd is doing a great job, almost as good as me and, damn it, he’s got Donatelli. Dave wasn’t good enough to follow me into the top dog slot in Hopkinton but he is fine second guy and now he’s got servers, the ProCurve networking stuff (I know what Chambers thinks about that and how it keeps him awake some nights) and EVA.
Those HP StorageWorks guys have a lot of sounds-good-but-sells-nothing crap in their locker. Remember RISS? That’s the role the ExDS9100 whatever fancy box is doing now. Then he’s got to somehow knock sense into the PolyServe takeover (PolyCurve? No, forget that one) and Ibrix. We really kicked everyone’s NAS butt with Celerra. But EVA, damn it, EVA 2 could be good.
We got a unified stack with Cisco and VMware, but Cisco and servers, I don’t know. How good is Chambers really, I mean really really? He’s spread himself awful thin over the thousand and one things Cisco is doing and, I know, Cisco is Cisco. But Chambers isn’t going to be there for ever, and Hurd is probably going to outlive him.
If the Cisco servers don’t really hack it (and, you know, they may not), it’s not like Dell, HP and IBM are wallflowers at the server dance. Then there’s that Acer guy that says we’re all dinosaurs. He’s nibbling at the foursome’s heels and we need a backstop. Okay, put that off to one side for a minute. Let’s think about growth.
We’re a $53.4 billion market capitalization company. Ok, $36.6 billion if you strip out VMware. How are we going to gow more? I says to my guys, “look, there’s no more real growth in the storage business. To do something big there we gotta buy HDS or NetApp and both would give us a world of hurt in integrating their products, especially NetApp’s, and there’s a real chance the sum of the parts could be less than the sum of the separate pieces. Let’s not even go there.”
The information infrastructure stuff is growing. Hollis keeps yacking at me (even more than normal) about this. It’s two or three times a week now! Doesn’t that guy ever sleep or eat or play golf? But I tell him, “that stuff is organic and that means slow and we need something quicker than twenty years from now.” I’ll be long gone then. I want something big on my crown. I don’t wanna slink off like Warmenhoven, always thinking I coulda been a contender.
This is getting kinda long, so I’ll just cut it off here. But I got an idea that’ll kill you. Seriously, it’ll blow you away. But first I gotta make some calls and set some stuff in motion. Maybe I’ll tell you about it on Monday or something.