By Tejas Venkatesh
VMware (NYSE:VMW) is selling SlideRocket, the presentation creation and collaboration startup it acquired two years ago, to ClearSlide as it refocuses on its core business. The deal comes at a time of refocus for the virtualization giant, which in 2012 saw its growth rate decline to 22% -- a full 10 percentage points lower than the previous year. (It also recently revealed plans to lay off some 900 employees.) As VMware returns to its roots, other assets that it acquired in recent years could also end up on the chopping block.
The company's focus in the near term is on its Pivotal Initiative. This will bring together a number of "big data" and cloud assets that EMC (EMC) and VMware have acquired and developed to capitalize on the impact that cloud computing is having on emerging markets such as application development and big data.
Meanwhile, the focus placed here will come at the expense of some of VMware's noncore assets. In its Q4 earnings call, the company said it would deemphasize SlideRocket as well as "other products" not central to what customers value from VMware. That could mean that some outlier assets, such as Socialcast and Zimbra, may be available for sale. Any divestitures at VMware would also be eased, politically, by the fact that acquisitions were done during the tenure of former CEO Paul Maritz, who moved from the top spot at VMware to run the Pivotal Initiative last year.