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What a Dell-EMC-VMware merger would mean for the EUC market

UPDATE (Oct. 12): Dell is officially buying EMC and VMware for $67 billion.

Dell buying Citrix is old and busted. Dell buying EMC — and possibly VMware — is the new hotness.

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that Dell is in talks to buy EMC in what would be the biggest tech industry acquisition of all time. That news came just weeks after Reuters reported that Citrix was exploring a sale to Dell, but those talks are apparently off now.

Most analysis of a potential Dell-EMC deal has focused on its implications for the storage, data center and cloud markets — and rightly so. Those are the areas where Dell, EMC and VMware’s products overlap or could complement each other under the same corporate umbrella. (EMC currently owns 80% of VMware, and CNBC reported that Dell’s offer to EMC would include VMware.)

But the acquisition could also have serious ramifications in the end-user computing (EUC) market. Despite Dell’s investments in so many IT infrastructure technologies, don’t forget that it rose to prominence as a PC company. Sure, PCs aren’t exactly the hottest products in tech today, but they are still the primary computing device in most organizations and will continue to be for a while.

For all its old “post-PC era” bluster, VMware has actually made an effort in the past few years to make PCs an integral part of its EUC strategy. Its 2012 acquisition of Wanova added desktop image management capabilities to its portfolio. The company followed that up in 2014 by acquiring CloudVolumes, adding Windows application layering and containerization to the mix. And at VMworld this year, VMware teased Project A Squared, which combines AirWatch and CloudVolumes (now called App Volumes) technology to bring enterprise mobility management to Windows 10 PCs.

Enterprise PCs are fairly commoditized these days. With VMware in its corner, Dell could set itself apart, offering one-stop shopping for IT departments that want to embrace the next generation of endpoint management. It would definitely make for an interesting sequel to the upcoming Michael Dell movie: