VMware's Stock Rocks on First Day Out

VMware had the kind of opening day companies dream about. After opening with a share price of $29, enthusiastic investors helped kick the price up to more than $50 by the end of the day yesterday. It's good to be VMware.

VMware hopes the IP will raise about $900 million. That shouldn't be a problem, judging from the initial response. Primary shareholder EMC Corp., which bought most of VMware for $602 million in 2004, is also sitting pretty. EMC currently holds 87 percent of the virtualization powerhouse. That's now priced at $9.5 billion, as of yesterday's IPO. Not a bad return on investment, eh?

Intel and Cisco Systems have also bought a piece of VMware's action. Intel bucked up $218.5 million for a 2.5 percent stake last month. Just after that, Cisco bought 6 million shares for $150 million.

VMware's market value was $10.9 billion after the IPO that will no doubt go down in the company's history as "Fat Tuesday." Revenues are expected to hit the $1 billion mark this year for the first time ever. Sales for the first half of this year were $555.5 million, nearly twice as much as the same period last year. Yep -- it's good to be VMware.

How does virtualization fit into your IT strategy? Are you virtualizing the desktop? The server? Applications? Send me a real message at llow@redmondmag.com.

Yahoo Tops Google in Survey
Just when it seems like nothing or no one can dethrone the mighty Google...

For the last three years, Yahoo has been inching upward in customer satisfaction, according to an annual University of Michigan customer satisfaction survey. At the same time Google has been slowly and steadily slipping. There's now a six-point difference between the two, with Yahoo on top. That's the primary take-away from the results of this year's recently posted survey.

Google held steady in the Internet portal/search engine category for 2003, 2004 and 2005. It started dropping slightly in 2006 and 2007, losing one customer satisfaction point per year. Then last year, the mighty Google slipped by three points in the survey.

Yahoo also held steady in 2003 and 2004, then, after a slight decline, ended up one point above Google for 2007. This may not be a huge difference, but it's a three-point gain over last year. That trend, combined with Google's trending in the other direction, means things could be looking good for Yahoo after a rough few years.

If nothing else, the top Yahoo has confidence in her company. Yahoo's president Susan Decker purchased 47,000 shares worth more than $1 million this week, just after the stock scraped along on a three-year low. Decker, who has to be smiling about the University of Michigan survey, now owns more than 424,000 shares of Yahoo.

Do you Yahoo? Do you Google? What's your choice when it comes to Internet search? You don't need to Google or Yahoo me to find me at llow@redmondmag.com.

Microsoft Makes Biggest Grab Yet
Microsoft has just wrapped up its acquisition of aQuantive, the multi-faceted Internet advertising company. Priced at $6 billion, this is Microsoft's biggest acquisition to date. As of last Friday, aQuantive became a wholly owned subsidiary of Redmond.

Microsoft's decision to buy the Web ad firm earlier this year was part of a gaggle of deals in the online ad world. Google is still trying to buy DoubleClick for $3.1 billion. Yahoo plans to plunk down $680 million to snap up the rest of Right Media (it owns 20 percent now). Even the beleaguered AOL is getting in on the fun, stating its plans to buy a group called Tacoda.

What do all these technology company and advertising agency deals mean? Get ready to be barraged by online ads. There'll be no escape.

The Microsoft-aQuantive deal includes three individual companies:

  • Internet ad agency Avenue A/Razorfish
  • Atlas Media Console, which helps clients (advertisers and ad agencies) buy online ads, then manages and tracks them once they're running
  • Drive Performance Media, which buys and resells online ad space

How does the rapid blending of the worlds of technology and advertising grab you? How do you feel about the Web as the brave new world for ads? Do online ads affect your Web surfing usage or habits? Check in with me at llow@redmondmag.com. I promise I won't try to sell you anything.

Novell Scoops Up Senforce
In other acquisition news, Novell just acquired Senforce Technologies, which focuses on endpoint security management. Novell had already started wrapping the technology into its ZENworks enterprise management suite.

Earlier this year, Novell partnered with Senforce Technologies on ZENworks Endpoint Security Management. This added endpoint protection to the ZENworks suite, enforcing encryption at the desktop to help protect against security breaches, data leaks and other Web-borne threats. It also promises to secure removable devices, personal firewalls, wireless devices and applications.

"More enterprises and government agencies are losing mission-critical and confidential information through theft and loss of unsecured corporate and personal devices," says Joe Wagner, Novell senior vice president and general manager of Systems and Resource Management, in a press release. "Combining Senforce's technology with Novell's existing systems and resource management solutions creates a new level of control and protection."

Wagner's comments and the completion of this deal were well-timed, coming on a day when the Idaho National Guard reported the theft of a portable device containing personal information on nearly 3,400 soldiers.

How does endpoint protection figure into your security framework? Do you use a one-company suite or a best-of-breed smorgasbord? Send me your secure response at llow@redmondmag.com.

Mailbag: Who Really 'Got It Wrong'?
On Monday, Doug wrote about the controversy surrounding Pvt. Scott Beauchamp, whose column about abuses in Iraq ran anonymously in The New Republic magazine. Later, rival magazine The Weekly Standard would claim to uncover inaccuracies in Beauchamp's column. Readers sound off:

It looks like you've slammed Scott Beauchamp (the blogger) and The New Republic unfairly. In fact, it appears that YOU are the one who hasn't "bothered to check his facts"! Have you even read TNR's official position on the Beauchamp saga? Here are a couple of links, in the likely event that you haven't bothered to check on them yet: "A Statement on Scott Thomas Beauchamp" and "A Scott Beauchamp Update."

Now, it may turn out that the facts of the case are as The Weekly Standard reports, but for now that's far from proven, and, in fact, I believe that the case TNR has made in favor of Beauchamp's veracity is far more compelling.
-Joe

Regarding the TNR military blogger mistake: The soldier in question is not the first blogger or reporter to make up a story and get caught. However, for TNR to continue to stand by the story AFTER the soldier had admitted he lied about the whole story is inexcusable.
-Anonymous

Seems you have fallen into some of the same trap that TNR did while "fact-checking" the story. From what I have read and seen on various Web sites, the military is not blocking Scott from talking to the media; he has free access to the phones and everything, but it is he who is not talking to the media.
-Jonathan

I read the story in a couple of places about the blogger who "got it wrong." Seems like there are a few possibilities here. Who do you want to believe? There are stories that other soldiers do not back up his facts. Then there are stories that other soldiers DO back up his facts. It seems that it would be in the best interests of the military to deny everything he said. I can think of a few instances where that's been done before and we later found that the denials were untrue.

What I'm trying to say here is that it may be premature to state that this guy "got it wrong" or that he is a moron. Too many stories have been coming out lately that would point to the possibility that his facts are at least partially true, but there are plenty of people that would not like them to be known.
-Gary

The New Republic writer Pvt. Scott Beauchamp purposely made up stories to slander the American miltary. And TNR purposely looked the other way and pretended to believe the stories. That they printed such lies shows they are on the side of our enemies.
-Anonymous

Please don't use this forum to explain what the news means to me. We already have enough shouting voices on CNN, FOX, etc. I don't believe them. Why should I believe you?
-Tom

Tell us what you think! Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to llow@redmondmag.com.

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