NetApp has suggested that a large acquisition such as EMC's VMware buy is not on the cards for the firm as it opened up on its M&A strategy.
The storage firm has shied away from blockbuster acquisitions in the past, opting for smaller "technology tuck-ins" instead, according to the firm's chief marketing officer Julie Parish, who spoke at a media Q&A session at NetApp's Partners and Pathways event in Budapest this week.
She said NetApp has its eye on about 400 acquisition targets at any one time, but claimed the firm is not interested in splashing the cash for the sake of it.
"What we look for is ‘is there really going to be synergy which makes sense to the customer?', not ‘what else can we add to our portfolio so that we would have one more thing to sell'," she said.
"What we have noticed is, because we made such a big investment in [storage operating system] Clustered OnTap, if our acquisition – the new thing – suddenly causes us to have to split our R&D budget across too many things and we feel it could take away from [the product], then we might be a little careful. That's why more of our M&A has been more a technology tuck-in. I would say our strategy has been different."
She said big buys that stray too far from existing portfolios can risk splitting the channel.
"If [any potential new technologies] are difficult for our current partner base to sell, is that a good strategy? You have to go out and hire a bunch of new partners who are now competing with all the partners you already have."
At rival storage vendor EMC's partner and customer event in Las Vegas last month, the vendor talked up closer integration between its "federation" companies – VMware, RSA and newly launched big data firm Pivotal.
Parish said the integration between EMC and VMware has been a long time coming and questioned the value the latter brought to EMC stakeholders.
"If you look back at stock prices, you'd have a hard time saying the EMC [acquisition] strategy has paid off for the investors, right?
"EMC's stock price relatively has not gone up based on all these acquisitions and I don't think it's clear to the customer the benefit of EMC and VMware together – now you see more benefit after many, many years. Now you see a bit of integration after, what, eight years, nine years?"
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