EMC plans to release online services software after Pi buy

EMC will roll out software for online services this year from its acquisition of Pi, aimed at boosting its cloud computing strategy, Pi CEO Paul Maritz said Tuesday.

The products, Pi Worx and Smart Desktops, are being beta tested with Amazon.com's Simple Storage Service and will be components of EMC's cloud computing initiative to offer storage and other applications as services over the Internet to business customers and consumers, he said.

The Pi software will also be offered as part of EMC's cloud-computing storage offering, Maritz said. It will further be available as part of a stack of EMC software to partners, such as telecommunications services providers who want to offer the services themselves, he added.

EMC announced Thursday that it plans to complete the acquisition of Pi, based in Seattle, in the first quarter of this year for an undisclosed sum in an all-cash deal. Maritz will join EMC's executive management team as president and general manager of a newly formed Cloud Infrastructure and Services Division after the acquisition is complete, the company said. Pi will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of EMC, with its products under the Pi brand name, Maritz said.

Pi Worx, one of the products to be introduced this year, will allow the creation of personal information banks on a Web site that stores and organizes information on criteria chosen by the user. Computer users can work offline with information automatically backed up the next time the computer connects to the Internet, Maritz said.

Although the software will initially support computers running Microsoft's Windows, the objective is to expand. Devices running Linux will more likely be supported in the next phase because Pi software runs on Linux at the back-end, Maritz said. "Our basic philosophy is that the browser forms the principle UI whether you are working remotely or locally," he added.

Currently, the software transfers data to and from Windows applications, like Outlook, and the online repository. EMC's strategy is to also provide native browser-based applications online.

"We will develop the core applications that average folks use," Maritz said. Pi already offers an e-mail application online, and a document editor is under development. The software will also be opened for third-party developers to offer applications, Maritz added.

Smart Desktops, the second product from Pi, will focus on the desktop and help users better organize information in Outlook and Windows.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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