Will VMWare start a parade of crap?

Lots to be excited about today, if you’re a VMWare shareholder — like EMC, for example, which paid about $600-million just four years ago for a company that is now valued at about $15-billion. And if you’re a venture capitalist or banker with some skin in the technology game, you’re probably salivating at the idea that the moonshot IPO might be back. My friend Paul Kedrosky has a look at what the strong reception for the VMWare IPO could imply.

garbage.jpgI haven’t taken an in-depth look at VMWare, but as far as I can tell there is no reason to be overly concerned about the company. Yes, the valuation may be overdone (particularly given the competition in the industry) but virtualization is a real technology and VMWare has some undeniable strengths. eWeek has a good overview of the company and interview with co-founder Diane Greene. But what concerns me is that the standing ovation for VMWare (live-blogged by Ashlee Vance at The Register and ably described by Eric Savitz at Barron’s) could help to open the flood gates and unleash a torrent of offal onto the markets like we haven’t seen since the days of Theglobe and Pets.com.

Om Malik has just one example of what could be waiting in the wings: Classmates, a pop-up-ad-flogging, spam-marketing Web 1.0 service that was acquired by ISP United Online and merged with some other craptastic company, is being taken public in what Om speculates is a rushed offering that reeks of opportunism, right down to the special voting shares.

And if Facebook goes public, as everyone including my dentist figures it will? Better get out your hip-waders.

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About mathewi

I'm the chief digital writer at the Columbia Journalism Review in New York, and a former writer for Fortune magazine and the Globe and Mail newspaper.