EMC has acquired iomega for a cool 213 Million or 3.85 share. This is a significant premium for a company that has been struggling for a while. Back in the days before every computer has a CD/RW and before we all carried a 4 GB USB drive on our key chain the primary primary medium for transferring data between computers was the 5.25 floppy, then the 3.5 floppy and then iomega with the 100 MB Zip drive which revolutionized my life and had to be the the gadget of the year. Every techie I know had one and it dramatically simplified our lives, who could forget hooking up you 100 MB Zip drive to your PCs parallel port, nowadays it’s hard to find a PC with a parallel port. Fast forward 10 years, just about every computer ships with a DVD/RW which can store 4+ GB of data, a 4GB USB thumb drive is ~ $25, translation the Zip drive is died a grim death.
What does this acquisition mean… hmmmm… I could speculate that EMC has acquired iomega to continue their down market push with the obvious connection between iomega and Retrospect, which BTW I think is true. iomega has some nice disk based products that play well in this space. I also think that while the Zip drive is not really of much value these days iomega has a heritage of pioneering a storage technology which could help EMC realize the vision of displacing tape as the primary media for offsite storage in the SMB. iomega’s iStorage also seems to dovetail nicely into EMC’s cloud computing initiative. My thought here is that iStorage pairs nicely with Mozy, Pi, EMC’s Cloud Infrastructure initiative, etc… Then of course there is the iomega Jaz the 2GB removable cartridge that never really took off but could EMC look to increase density and really target tape in the SMB with a technology like this? The speculator is me says, maybe. If you look around at companies like rdx are on the right track but may not have the market muscle, presence or heritage to capture significant market share and change the market paradigm, you can almost visualize how EMC could and might parlay the iomega acquisition.