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After SlideRocket, will VMware sell other enterprise collaboration products?

The virtualization specialist has built up an enterprise collaboration stack in recent years that includes Zimbra and Socialcast

VMware, the virtualization specialist that has recently built up an enterprise collaboration software stack through acquisitions, has sold off one of those companies, but at least two analysts say it's unlikely VMware will retreat from that market.

SlideRocket, whose cloud application is designed to let users post and share slide presentations, has been sold to ClearSlide, which makes cloud-based software for managing sales professionals' interactions with customers, ClearSlide announced on Tuesday. VMware had indicated in its latest earnings call in late January that it intended to sell SlideRocket as part of an effort to refocus its product lineup.

VMware bought SlideRocket two years ago, as part of its strategy to compete in enterprise collaboration, which also involved acquiring email and collaboration software vendor Zimbra and enterprise social-networking provider Socialcast, as well as developing a cloud file-sharing product now called Horizon Suite.

Asked whether the SlideRocket divestiture means VMware will distance itself from the enterprise collaboration market, a spokesman reiterated VMware's intention to focus on three areas: data center software, hybrid cloud and end user computing.

"For all other related products including Zimbra and Socialcast, we remain committed to our customers' success and to continuing the same level of service and support that they are accustomed to receiving," the spokesman said via email.

Gartner analyst Chris Wolf doesn't see VMware discarding other enterprise collaboration software like Socialcast and Horizon.

"Collaboration is a key component of VMware's Horizon strategy. Horizon's long term vision is to allow users to seamlessly work and collaborate across Windows, Web, and mobile applications," he said via email.

Zimbra, meanwhile, plays a core role in VMware's move up the stack to the application layer, according to Gartner analyst Matt Cain. As long as VMware continues to make "applications part of their strategy, we believe Zimbra will be a part of that effort," Cain said via email.

For its part, ClearSlide has big plans for SlideRocket, which has more than 1 million users and will be integrated with ClearSlide's software.

With SlideRocket, ClearSlide plans to give its customers -- primarily sales professionals -- a tool to create highly interactive presentations that contain not only text and images but also video, audio, analytics and rich media, the company said.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.


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