VMworld: Top CEOs Knock Facebook, Rib Each Other


An all-star group of CEOs gathered at VMworld Monday to participate in a CEO Roundtable, where they chastised Facebook and ribbed each other as well, all to the delight of conference attendees.

The roundtable included Dell CEO Michael Dell, EMC CEO Joe Tucci, newly installed VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger, former VMware CEO Paul Martiz, who is now chief strategist with EMC, and NetApp CEO Tom Georgens.

[Related: VMworld: VMware Ditches vRAM Licensing, Unveils Cloud Suite, Changes CEOs]

On the topic of social networking, Gelsinger said, "It has tremendous oscillation, with Facebook coming in and out of favor."

When prompted, Gelsinger said he was referring to Facebook's stock, which has dipped in recent weeks. "Thank you for pointing that out," Dell said.

Maritz followed up, prompting guffaws from the crowd by saying, "If current trends continue, it won't be long before VMware's market [capitalization] exceeds Facebook. It could be because VMware actually does something useful."

VMware's market capitalization was $39 billion as of Tuesday morning compared with Facebook’s market capitalization of $41.2 billion.

Tucci, without mentioning any companies, said fast technology changes in the current era result in swift changes in the business landscape, sometimes with "departures of players and companies."

Georgens, when his turn to speak arrived, said, "To my loyal customers at RIM and Facebook, I didn't say that."

The roundtable discussion began with Maritz eliciting laughter from the attendees by saying, "We're going to talk about the broader trends in our industry. We're not going to get into a sales pitch, at least Pat and I aren't."

However, some minutes later, Georgens made a point that the cloud and virtualization are changing how products are brought more quickly to market.

Gelsinger agreed, but drew a hearty response from Dell when he said customers can quickly receive products, "if you want storage from EMC … oops … sorry Michael … and from Dell."

Dell, laughing with the audience, shot back with mock anger: "We're into storage. We've got storage. We've got it all."

PUBLISHED AUG. 28, 2012