EMC has been gobbling up companies like there is no tomorrow. On Monday they sweetened the offer to acquire Iomega and this one introduces something new to EMC. With the possible exception of hosted backup and storage services from Dantz and Mozy, EMC has stayed away from marketing it’s wares directly to the home user. If they pull this one off, EMC for the first time will have real estate outside of the data center and in your home office or laptop case.
The potential deal reminds me of the Cisco acquisition of Linksys. In that acquisition the network juggernaut of the corporate world took over arguably the most popular name in home networking. Only briefly did they consider burying the Linksys brand. As I write this, the Cisco emblem glows orange on the familiar blue Linksys labeled router on my desk.
EMC is all about storage so in an overly simplistic view of things it makes sense. One has to wonder about the clash of cultures that will take place as big storage tries it hand at consumer electronics. EMC knows how to sell storage to big companies but R&D , marketing, and support of the home user is new territory for the Information Lifecycle Management vision. Even operating as a separate unit, reaching out to the desktop without the cover of an IT department at the customer could be more than “One EMC” bargained for.
Still there is little doubt that EMC could learn a lesson or two from the consumer market. Can you imagine “real people” using Powerlink? … Neither can I.
EMC has been playing in this SMB for a little over a year now with the EMC Insignia line. Moving to the consumer desktop isn’t as much of a stretch. Many SMB are use to making decisions through online reviews and walking down to their local “BuyMore” and talking to a “green shirt” to find which row to pickup an accounting package. The retail channel from a vendor perspective is very much the same and this new channel is something I’m sure that EMC was looking into. Will this mean that people will expect the members of the “Nerd Heard” will be able to install enterprise hardware of software? I think not, though it’s interesting to think they get paid $160 to install a plasma TV.
The other channel it brings is straight to the hardware manufacture. Dell, HP, and Toshiba all use Iomega drives in their desktops and laptops. This channel will also bring new opportunities to sell NAS through those relationships. Today EMC really only has that relationship with Dell.
From a technology perspective this also adds capacity to develop smaller drive units and the relationships to manufacture them. I can envision “cache drives” installed on desktop machines with NAS mirroring done at the BIOS.
Finally, it also means that EMC will probably be looking for more consumer products in the future. One of the next obvious choices is to protect that data from viruses. It’s not hard to think that either McAfee or Symantec will be talked about in the future.
Sorry for all the “Chuck” references but I’m jonesing for a new episode and it makes a good generic name for a electronics retailer.