VMware CEO ousted for former Microsoft exec

Diane Greene, CEO of industry leading virtualization firm VMware, has lost her job to Paul Maritz, a former Microsoft executive who arrived at EMC -- VMware's owner since 2004 -- with its buyout of Pi Corp. last year.

In issuing an announcement that stunned the software industry, EMC Chairman Joe Tucci applauded Greene -- who co-founded the $1.3 billion virtualization software company 10 years ago -- for guiding "the creation and development of a company that is changing the way that people think about computing."

According to some analysts, though, Greene and Tucci have been at odds with each other ever since EMC's acquisition of VMware four years ago. Issues have apparently included Greene's management style, which has been described as private and detail-oriented.

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But although VMware remains the top seller in the virtualization software market, the field is becoming increasingly crowded, particularly with Microsoft's arrival earlier this year.

But while existing virtualization players such as Parallels have been advancing their technologies, VMware hasn't been known for all that much innovation lately.

When VMware recently reported that its anticipated revenues for 2008 would be "modestly below" an initial forecast of a 50 percent increase, the company's shares took a tumble in the stock market.

Maritz, Greene's new replacement, is someone who must know a lot about Microsoft. As previously reported in BetaNews, upon EMC's acquisition of the somewhat mysterious Pi Corp., -- the developer of a novel type of personal information management software -- Maritz immediately took over the reins of EMC's emerging cloud computing division, an entity which is competing with Microsoft.

Before that, Maritz spent 14 years with Microsoft, serving as a member of the Executive Committee which manages that company. During various stints, he was in charge of developing and marketing Microsoft's Systems Software (such as Windows 95, Windows NT, and Windows 2000), Development and Database Products, and Office and Exchange line-ups.

An MIT-educated engineer and computer scientist, Greene co-founded VMware with her husband, Mendel Rosenblum, and three other engineers. Her husband remains at VMware as chief scientist.

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