It took almost a year and an estimated $63 billion to accomplish, but Dell Technologies is officially launching on Wednesday. This tech giant brings together Dell’s existing hardware business with EMC‘s various subsidiaries, including VMware (VMW), Pivotal, and Virtustream.
In an interview with Fortune before the press event on Wednesday, the combined company’s chief executive Michael Dell reiterated the importance of fielding the right technology and doing so as a private company—thus minus shareholder pressures.
“We want to innovate on behalf of customers, and that is a challenge for many public companies—particularly if they don’t have the right portfolio,” says Dell. “What’s unique about Dell, EMC, Virtustream, Pivotal, Secureworks, RSA, etc. is we’ll pull together the best capabilities and we’re private so we can do that on a longer term time horizon. Other companies are out there selling off pieces and are in some form of distress one way or another.”
He did not mention any of the usual names. In the past he would probably have specified IBM and HPE, both big Dell Inc. competitors, but now, as uber boss of a company that includes VMware, he must be more circumspect. IBM and HPE, after all, are big VMware partners.
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The combined Dell Technologies will not compete head-on with giant public cloud provider Amazon Web Services (AMZN) and Microsoft Azure(MSFT), but focus on building out the Virtustream business as an enterprise-class cloud for large mission-critical applications, such as those from SAP (SAP).
The new company also intends to push Pivotal Cloud Foundry, which runs on Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google (GOOG) Cloud Platform and VMware vSphere, as a way for customers to put their corporate workloads across a variety of on-premises data centers and private and public clouds.
“With Pivotal we have Cloud Foundry which is a tremendous cloud operating system that many of the largest companies in the world are using to build out their cloud strategies, car companies, industrial giants like GE,” he adds.
“Cloud Foundry will remain platform independent. It’s a good way for customers to avoid public cloud lock-in,” Dell says.
AWS pioneered the public cloud market of amassing huge stockpiles of servers, storage, and networking that it rents to customers—effectively forcing legacy hardware and software players to reevaluate their business models.
Last fall, AWS chief executive Andy Jassy said those older companies—which Jassy did not name but presumably would include IBM (IBM) and HPE (HPE) as well as Dell and EMC—were more focused on re-engineering their financials by either selling off businesses or merging them, while AWS remained focused on delivering more features and services.
For more on the EMC deal, watch:
That’s a contention that Jeremy Burton, who is Dell Technologies’ chief marketing officer, swatted down.
“Anyone who’s looked at our portfolio over the past three years, I’d defy them to find a storage infrastructure company that’s brought more to market,”Burton tells Fortune. “In software-defined storage, it was all organic development. We also have the fastest-growing flash array ever.”
EMC’s strength, in particular, is that its storage is used throughout the Fortune 500 and beyond. All of those companies will be looking for an enterprise-class cloud, and Dell Technologies plans to use Virtustream plus VMware to get that to them.
Of course, Oracle (ORCL), Microsoft, and others are also targeting those companies with their own corporate-focused clouds.
Interestingly, Dell, which makes its own inexpensive “white box” servers, sells those boxes into major cloud providers as well: It’s also an arms dealer to cloud providers.