Kara Swisher

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VMware CEO Paul Maritz Talks About the Cloud Monster, Microsoft and More! (Video)

Yesterday, in a bid to stay ahead in the hyper-competitive virtualization space, VMware announced a major upgrade to its flagship product, vSphere, and also a range of other improvements to its offerings.

Moving fast is a good idea as the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company — which leads in the arena to bring every business to the cloud — faces increasing numbers of rivals, ranging from Amazon to Microsoft to Citrix and more.

The cloud shift is a massive undertaking for all of them, with complexity, confusion and worry over security among the many challenges in this inevitable transformation of technology.

Its CEO Paul Maritz, of course, knows all about that as one of the leading execs at Microsoft during its heyday. He led key units in charge of the tech giant’s dominant desktop and server software, from Windows 95 to Internet Explorer.

That’s why he is among the most frequently mentioned as the perfect candidate when increasingly frequent rumblings surface about who should replace its current CEO Steve Ballmer. In fact, some sources said Maritz has already been on the receiving end of initial feelers on the issue.

Still revered at Microsoft by the troops, now deeply experienced in the critical cloud computing arena and always whip-smart, Maritz-as-CEO certainly makes a lot of sense.

But the cool and calm veteran tech exec only manages an enigmatic smile when asked, and notes in his quiet and sly voice: “I believe Microsoft already has a CEO.”

Heh. In any case, Maritz has a big job to do at VMware for now and here he is talking about it all:

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There was a worry before I started this that I was going to burn every bridge I had. But I realize now that there are some bridges that are worth burning.

— Valleywag editor Sam Biddle