Tucci: 'EMC will go down market' -- right into your living room

Iomega injects consumer DNA that EMC needs to gain a foothold in consumer market

LAS VEGAS -- EMC Corp. CEO Joe Tucci this week revealed some specifics of the company's long-expected plans to begin selling products to the small business, home office and even consumer markets.

"EMC will go down market," he said at the company's user conference here today. "We'll play at the big enterprise accounts. We'll play in the medium-size commercial accounts. We'll play in the SMB business. We'll want to play in the SOHO and play in the consumer [market]."

Tucci disclosed that the company plans to begin building consumer brands, but added that will be a gradual effort. "I'm probably not going to spend tens of millions of dollars [this year] to do that, but you'll see us begin." The new business will include products and services from recent acquisitions and from proposed buyouts, such as Iomega Corp., along with an internally central online repository that will provide consumers and home offices with mobile access to data.

In the not so distant future, EMC hopes its small business and consumer offerings include Iomega's small removable hard drives and NAS devices running on EMC's Linux-based LifeLine operating system, and the Mozy online backup and storage service the company gained last fall with its acquisition of Berkeley Data Systems.

Over the next several years, Tucci said he believes the average middle-class home will have up to a terabyte of data stored on electronic devices. He wants EMC to provide those users with mobile access to the data through an online "computing cloud" based on Web 2.0 hardware, software and services. Part of that technology will come from EMC's purchase of Seattle-based, cloud computing start-up Pi Corp.

Meanwhile, EMC plans to announce the availability of its own Web 2.0 software, code-named MAUI, this summer. The announcement will coincide with the launch of a major marketing push for its Web 2.0 hardware, a clustered NAS device code-named HULK. The hardware was announced at EMC's Innovation Day conference last November and is currently shipping.

"We want to have a play in the digital home, the digital small business in the future. No matter where you travel you have access to that data," Tucci said. "I know this is a great opportunity and one I want to capitalize on."

Earlier this year, EMC announced that it had agreed to acquire Iomega, which sells low-end desktop drives and portable hard drives. Iomega's business products include NAS equipment. The San Diego-based company's annual sales total about $336 million.

Iomega CEO Jonathan Huberman said his company can "inject the consumer DNA" that EMC needs to expand its reach beyond the corporate data center. "We've been around for 28 years. While we have a very strong brand, equally if not more important is that we have very strong channels," Huberman said. "That's what we bring to this equation."

For example, Iomega recently released the ScreenPlay HD storage device, which offers up to 500GB of capacity for transferring music, photos or downloaded movies from a PC to a digital video recorder (DVR). The device supports high-definition television technology, and has a USB port for the computer and an HDMI port for the DVR, he said.

Huberman said that although the device is not sophisticated, it's "the best solution" right now for performing digital movie transfers. Intel Corp. recently released its version of the Iomega home server, called the Entry Storage System SS4200-E home NAS server.

Iomega is also selling a 1TB, two-drive wireless NAS device called the StorCenter Wireless NAS drive that Huberman said is tailored for downloading and transferring iTunes music using Gigabit Ethernet. Huberman said the ScreenPlay HD and the StorCenter Wireless NAS drive are good examples of future consumer storage devices. Huberman also noted that every IT worker in a major corporation is a potential retail technology consumer.

"Every reader Computerworld has is a consumer as well," he said. "But the way they look at life, as opposed to the way a big business looks at life, is a very different thing. Ease of use is critical. Price is obviously critical. And look and feel is very important."

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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