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VMware's Paul Maritz to step down as CEO: rumour

Sources suggest Maritz could head up new cloud business

Rumours are swirling that Paul Maritz is stepping down as chief executive of VMware after four years, to be replaced by Pat Gelsinger, who is currently president and chief operating officer (COO) at VMware's parent company EMC.

VMware has not confirmed the rumour, and there is no indication about where Maritz will go next. However, CRN cites "multiple sources familiar with the situation".

Meanwhile, GigaOM reports that VMware is planning to spin off some of its cloud assets - including its Cloud Foundry platform-as-a-service division and EMC's Greenplum assets - and speculation is that Maritz may be offered the chairmanship of the new company.

Maritz came to VMware by acquisition of his start-up, Pi, which EMC acquired in 2008. Before Pi, Martiz was a central figure at Microsoft between 1986 and 2000, where he ran the Platforms and Developer Group.

Commenting on the rumours, Ben Kepes, CEO and founder of analyst firm Diversity Limited, said Maritz's departure is likely to be closely tied to VMware essentially ignoring the rise of cloud computing until very recently.

"They've continued to pursue their enterprise hypervisor business, and have made some interesting (if a little confusing) application acquisitions that, thus far, have proved to be uninspiring for the business."

Kepes said that VMware's traditional business is highly lucrative, but is being eroded by cloud companies such as Amazon. However, he warned that providing a more compelling cloud story would likely be "toxic" to its high margin business.

"The entire organisation needs to see that they're standing on a platform that, while possibly not burning, is at least smouldering slowly. The rate of change is increasing all the time and VMware risks being left irrelevant by changes that are bearing down on it," he added.

GigaOM's sources said VMware's cloud asset spin-out would include:

VMware's platform-as-a-service offering Cloud Foundry,EMC's big data division Greenplum, as well as two Hadoop distributions and analytics collaboration software called Chorus,Project Rubicon - an IaaS joint venture between EMC and VMware.

More details are expected to be announced along with VMware's second-quarter earnings on 23 July.

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