Tucci, Maritz talk acquisitions, customers and competition

The CEOs - EMC's Joe Tucci and VMWare's Paul Maritz - took some time this afternoon to meet with reporters at EMC World for a Q&A session about the companies, the technologies and the future. Some highlights from the Q&A session:With $9.

The CEOs - EMC's Joe Tucci and VMWare's Paul Maritz - took some time this afternoon to meet with reporters at EMC World for a Q&A session about the companies, the technologies and the future.

Some highlights from the Q&A session:
  • With $9.8 billion in cash and investments, EMC could gain some ground in technology via acquisitions. Tucci said one of the uses for the company's cash will be to "strengthen our position in the marketplace through acquisition." He wouldn't say which areas or companies the company might be thinking about but did say that the he's "much more inclined" to make acquisitions in areas where the company is already strong, notably virtualization, storage information management and security.
  • Asked if the company might become a target for acquisition by another player, Tucci was quick to state that the company is not for sale. He also notes that, given EMC's sizable market cap, there aren't too many companies that could pull off such a transaction. Still, Tucci notes that, as executives, he and Maritz have to act with their best interest of the shareholders in mind.
  • Asked about the impact of Oracle's acquisition of Sun, Maritz said it doesn't prompt too much change for the companies anytime soon. A lot of the companies' customers already use Oracle's database software and they don't see that changing anytime soon.
  • In his keynote speech earlier in the day, Tucci said that EMC plans to "get closer" and communicate more with customers. During the Q&A he clarified that the company getting close to customers is not a new idea. Instead, he said that - during tough economic times - it's important to stand by your customers. "When things are going great, you've got a lot of friends," he said. : When something bad happens, you see how many true friends you have." A rough economy will test a company and its companies, as well as its attitude and will to win. These are the times to put in an added layer of connectivity, he said, to "pick it up a notch."
  • Responding to a question about competition in the virtualization space and the plans to step up the game with the vSphere news, Maritz said there were no plans to idle and watch as competitors enter the market. Standing still simply allows competitors to come in and commoditize what a company does, he said. "If you want to stay valuable, you have to innovate." He pointed to a "substantial" R&D team and said "we have no intention of standing still."