VMware is a virtualization company, right? Then why did it announce yesterday that it is buying SlideRocket, a services company that helps people make their presentations look all snappy?
The same reasons as last year when it bought Zimbra, the email services provider. Microsoft.
Or because perhaps collaboration may be one of the biggest opportunities in the enterprise. Really...it's both.
Here are some details on the deal that should shine light on what Vmware is after:
- SlideRocket has 20,000 customers and 300,000 users.
- It is a Web-based service.
- It has its own marketplace.
- It is available across end-devices such as smartphones and tablets.
SlideRocket is a modern presentation application. It is easy to use. It does not require installation. SlideRocket goes with email, which is a good fit with Zimbra. It's also a supplement to Zimbra, which already has a presentation capability.
Presentations are second only to email as the most commonly used business tool. Professionals rely upon presentations for critical business communication such as influencing audiences and closing deals. Yet, despite their critical role, the process of creating, delivering, and sharing presentations is still based on 25-year-old technology, so most presentations remain static, one-way documents that lack impact.
That quote supports our answer to the question. Microsoft is the only company with 25-year-old presentation technology.
Here's further proof. Herrod says collaboration is key:
Collaborating with others around presentations often involves sending large file attachments and comments in email, worrying about whether recipients have the appropriate software to review, and wasting time keeping track of who has the latest version. And, once a presentation is shared outside your company, it's impossible to make changes, or even know if someone has viewed it. The process is frustrating and the result is often miscommunication and lost productivity. Perhaps most importantly, this approach to building and sharing presentations is incompatible with our increasingly mobile business lives.
VMware is the virtualization leader. But it is increasingly focused on the top of the stack where collaborative applications are thriving. The company recently took over Mozy for Cloud Foundry, its new platform. That's further proof that VMware is serving as the stable for apps that have a Web focus. That puts VMware in a place that positions it against Microsoft, still the reigning power of enterprise productivity.