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February 21, 2008 2:56 PM

Maritz joins EMC, to battle Microsoft in the cloud

Posted by Brier Dudley

Microsoft's cloud computing efforts have a formidable and familiar new competitor.

Paul Maritz, the former Microsoft platform boss, is becoming president of EMC's cloud computing initiative, which competes directly with Microsoft.

Maritz is a veteran of ruthless platform battles, so it ought to make things interesting. He's rejoining the corporate world after seven years of dabbling in startups and philanthropy.

The Zimbabwe native was a top dog in Redmond and a central figure in the company's meteoric rise in the late 1990s, so maybe it took this long for his Microsoft non-compete agreement to expire.

Among his projects since leaving Microsoft was Pi, a Seattle information-management venture started in 2003 and sold today to EMC. The 100-person company will continue to operate as a standalone entity, similar to the way EMC lets VMWare run independently.

When the deal is finalized, Maritz will become president and general manager of EMC's new Cloud Infrastructure and Services Division reporting to CEO Joe Tucci.

The release said he "will continue to directly oversee development and operations for Pi, along with other key elements of EMC's cloud computing strategy, which include the EMC Fortress SaaS infrastructure, the Mozy online backup service and other upcoming EMC cloud infrastructure systems and software offerings under development."

EMC said Pi will continue growing and expanding in Seattle -- where it employs a few dozen -- and satellite offices in Montreal and Bangalore.

EMC wouldn't say how much it paid in the all-cash deal, but said it should be done within the first quarter of 2008 and will "be dilutive by $.01 per diluted share in 2008."

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