EMC's partnership with Lenovo directly addresses this shortcoming. The result is true "best-of-class" solutions that function more like those from an integrated vendor. ThinkPad and ThinkCenter, along with Lenovo's high-volume server products, now fill out a near-complete product suite from companies that include EMC, Cisco, SAP, VMware and BMC.
Even Intel is an intimate partner in these efforts. It even provides an advantage that may exceed HP's strategic relationship with Intel, since HP plays AMD and Intel off each other. At the partnership level, EMC's efforts are pure Intel.
EMC Making Mergers, and Partnerships, Work
Dell, EMC and more recently Intel stand out as companies that make acquisitions without destroying the firms they acquire. Of the three companies, only EMC has also moved to create deep partnerships with huge firms that are too expensive to buy. In doing so it gains most of the advantage of an acquisition with virtually none of the catastrophic risk associated with a massive acquisition failure.
I think the end concept of a virtual company might even have more long term potential than IBM's model. The virtual construct can more easily swap components than an umbrella company can buy/integrate or sell/disentangle divisions. In effect, as the market changes, the EMC components are more easily increased or exchanged, given that each is already self-sufficient, and the related agility should be a tough strategic advantage to match with traditional methods.
In short, I think we are seeing the birth of the fifth age of computing, and EMC is driving that birth.
Rob Enderle is president and principal analyst of the Enderle Group. Previously, he was the Senior Research Fellow for Forrester Research and the Giga Information Group. Prior to that he worked for IBM and held positions in Internal Audit, Competitive Analysis, Marketing, Finance and Security. Currently, Rob writes on emerging technology, security and Linux for a variety of publications and appears on national news TV shows that include CNBC, FOX, Bloomberg and NPR.
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