Hey Microsoft, forget Yahoo, buy VMware

The aftershocks are still reverberating from today’s news of the unceremonious departure of VMware cofounder and CEO Diane Greene. While the news was a surprise to most, you have to assume VMware’s board of directors has been actively planning for her exit for some time as it had a ready replacement to announce as CEO in Paul Maritz.

Maritz is the former Microsoft executive perhaps best known for some of the more colorful comments attributed to him during the software giant’s antitrust trial with the Department of Justice in the ’90s. The South African-born Maritz denied ever making the widely quoted statement that Microsoft would “cut off Netscape’s air supply” back when Netscape had the leading Internet browser.

Satoshi Nakajima, who worked for Maritz as lead software architect for Windows 95, was surprised to hear about the appointment when contacted by InternetNews.com.

“Wow. I think they [Microsoft] should forget about Yahoo and buy VMware,” Nakajima said. “Maritz knows Steve Ballmer, and who knows, this whole thing could be setting the stage for Microsoft to do a deal.”

The rumor mill also has Intel potentially interested in buying VMware. Either Intel or Microsoft could do it, but EMC’s price tag would likely be staggering.

In any case, Nakajima said Maritz’s knowledge of the enterprise software market makes him a good fit for VMware. “Paul Maritz was the reason Microsoft shifted more of their business to the enterprise side. He saw there was a lot more opportunity to make money from enterprises than consumers as far as the revenue per machine Microsoft could make.”

Nakajima is currently president of Big Canvas, a startup working on photo-sharing software for Apple’s iPhone.

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