Last week Pivotal came out of stealth mode and announced themselves to the world. It got a fair amount of attention because Paul Maritz is the guy there and because the company is being built on jettisoned technology assets that had been previously acquired by EMC and VMware. It was also interesting that General Electric was involved by making an investment in the company. Today it was reported that VMware was also selling off WaveMaker, but not to Pivotal, which begs the question – why not? I suspect it’s because the ROI for VMware is deemed to be better selling it to somebody else as opposed to adding another ingredient to Pivotal’s melting pot.
The question you always need to ask about any new venture is when it is going to start making money and how much of it they will be able to make and how they are going to take their products and services to market. Pivotal is no exception, unless you include the fact that they have a lot of overhead in people trying put all these disparate pieces together. Some see the amassed talent as great talent, but a CFO sees it as a whopping huge payroll that isn’t being offset by anything right now. There are no existing product lines to leverage and there isn’t even a new product line that can carry the company through it’s development efforts. In other words, it’s a science project made of plausible components that could possibly work.
So I’m sticking my neck out, but not very far, by saying I don’t think there is a light at the end of the tunnel for Pivotal. Just because there are a lot of smart people, it doesn’t mean there is a business. You may ask “What about GE, doesn’t their endorsement mean something?” Yes, it certainly does. GE is making a big push to be a software company that tackles large scale data processing for various verticals they have a vested interest in such as health care (those Hugo Weaving ads are fantastic), manufacturing, energy and others I can’t think of right now. Getting visibility for their business is probably well worth the effort and I’m not talking about publicity. As an investor in Pivotal they will get to see more technology from more ecosystem companies than they might have otherwise. It’s a good move for a company that wants to increase its software business.
I could be wrong, but that’s how I see it.