EMC sells Syncplicity to focus on core storage business

EMC is selling its Syncplicity file-sharing and collaboration business to private investment company Skyview Capital for an undisclosed sum.

EMC bought Syncplicity in May 2012 in response to the growth of mobile computing and bring-your-own-device policies in enterprises. Syncplicity is one of a host of cloud-based file services, including Box, Dropbox and Google Drive, that have emerged in the past few years. It's available for iOS and Android as well as PC operating systems.

In the three years it owned Syncplicity, EMC adapted the system so enterprises could use it for access to data in their own storage systems. The company also added central controls over how specific types of files could be shared and with whom.

But continuing to evolve Syncplicity and keep it competitive in the file-sharing industry would divert EMC's attention from its core enterprise storage business, EMC said in a press release. The sale will help its storage division, EMC Information Infrastructure, focus its investments on that core business.

EMC will retain a financial interest in Syncplicity after the sale and will continue to sell Syncplicity as part of the EMC Select partner program, the company said. The deal is expected to close this month.

EMC has expanded its scope well beyond its core enterprise storage systems business in recent years, becoming a "federation" of storage, virtualization (VMware), security (RSA Systems) and big data (Pivotal). That model has come under fire recently from investors who think the company should be split up.

Skyview, based in Los Angeles, has a small portfolio of technology companies that includes carrier network vendor NewNet, Tekelec Mobile Messaging and secure transaction processing company Traxcom.

Skyview said it plans to invest heavily in Syncplicity and continue to enhance the product. The purchase gives Skyview a chance to accelerate innovation and attract a broad ecosystem of partners and resellers, the investment company said.

"We're going to invest ... substantially more aggressively than EMC was," said Jonathan Huberman, a one-time EMC executive who will become Syncplicity's CEO.

Part of that investment will be in product development, which will continue along Syncplicity's current roadmap, Huberman said. A larger part will go into expanding the company's sales channels. As part of EMC, Syncplicity has had to rely on the parent company's sales force to approach most large enterprises, he said. As a standalone company, it will be able to do more on its own and through other major IT companies' channels, reaching potential contacts beyond the storage departments that EMC most often works with.

As an example of what Syncplicity hopes to do, Huberman pointed to VMware and the partnerships it has been able to build with myriad other vendors since it was spun out of EMC in 2007.

Syncplicity General Manager Jeetu Patel will stay with the company through July as the transition takes place and then take some time to consider his options, EMC said.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

Stephen Lawson

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