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Dewalt Addresses Questions About EMC Acquisition

EMC's acquisition of Documentum will bridge content-management with storage, says Documentum CEO Dave Dewalt.
Documentum Inc. CEO Dave DeWalt took the stage to open the content-management vendor's 13th annual user conference Monday in New Orleans and wasted no time getting to what is undoubtedly on the minds of customers. "A lot of people have asked me, why EMC, and why now?"

DeWalt was referring to EMC's pending $1.7 billion acquisition of Documentum. The deal has spurred a range of reaction, with analysts lauding the seemingly ideal combination of content and storage, Documentum rivals rejoicing over what they see as a major competitor being plucked from the market, and customers trying to figure out what it all means.

As to why Documentum chose to be acquired now, DeWalt told an audience filled with customers and partners that the time was right. The company, he said, is entering a third stage in its development--after its days as a private company under founder Howard Shao, and then its most recent era as an independent public company. With a huge market emerging for managing unstructured data, which DeWalt said makes up 80% of the information stored in corporate systems, Documentum has reached a point where achieving its potential growth isn't something it would be able to do alone. With support from EMC's 10,000-person field-sales and service force, Documentum figures to get in front of a much larger audience of potential buyers, he said.

Together, DeWalt said, the two companies will work to develop an "uber repository" in which storage and content management are bridged to form what he called an "intelligent repository." The idea, he said later during an interview with InformationWeek, is to turn content management into the brains behind next-generation storage area networks and redefine the file-system approach to information management.

EMC CEO Joe Tucci, in a video message delivered during the keynote, said that soon after the two companies formed a partnership a year ago, they "saw the inevitable link between enterprise content management and information storage." By more intelligently managing the growing volume of unstructured data, he said, the combined companies could command a larger piece of a growing market.

Further evidence that the two companies are a logical match came when the audience, using a touchpad response system, answered a question about whether they were EMC customers. Half said yes, and another 25% weren't sure.

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