• Dell has said it is considering spinning off VMware next year, which raises questions on the future of the virtualization software company which is now an important player in cloud computing.
  • Some experts explored another potential scenario: Dell selling VMware to another tech giant such as Microsoft, Amazon or Google.
  • “VMware would be a valuable property to any company in the enterprise space with the means to execute the deal,” analyst Roger Kay told Business Insider.  “What any of them gains is a competitive edge.”
  • Still, with a market cap of some $60 billion, VMware would be a hefty purchase, meaning only the deep-pocketed will likely even consider it.
  • Here are 5 major technology players that could be interested in acquiring VMware:
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Dell is considering spinning off VMware next year, raising questions on the future of a critical player in cloud computing.

Dell acquired VMware in 2015 after its $67 billion merger with EMC ,giving it control of a powerhouse in virtualization software, which made it possible for businesses to tap disparate computer systems, reducing the need for hardware. VMware in particular has struck partnerships with Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, and Microsoft – making it a secret superpower in the cloud wars.

Dell announced last week that it was exploring the spinoff which it said would benefit the shareholders, partners and customers, although it is also open to maintaining its 81% ownership of the software giant.

Some experts point to another scenario: VMware being acquired by another tech giant.

VMware’s virtualization technology made it a rising star of cloud computing, the fast-growing trend which allows businesses to set up their networks in web-based platforms, making it possible to scale down or even abandon private, on-premise data centers.

VMware has become even more important in a newer trend called hybrid cloud, in which businesses maintain networks in web-based platforms, while keeping huge chunks of data and applications in private, on-premise data centers.

These trends actually made VMware, an influential players in the cloud, and a valued partner for its top players: Amazon, Microsoft and Google.

“The virtualization layer arbitrates whatever is below and above it,” analyst Roger Kay of Endpoint Technologies Associates told Business Insider.  “VMware is the king of that. VMware would be a valuable property to any company in the enterprise space with the means to execute the deal.  What any of them gains is a competitive edge.”

But he also said VMware is “a pretty big fish to swallow.  So, whoever bought it would have to have a pretty big war chest.”

VMware has a market cap of about $57 billion. Analyst Ray Wang of Constellation Research estimated that VMware’s price tag would be at least $70 billion, which means the pool of would-be buyers would be limited.

These are 5 tech giants that may be interested in buying VMware if Dell decides to sell it, according to experts:

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