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Microsoft’s Old Number Three Turns Up at EMC on a Cloud

Paul Maritz, the charming ex-head of development at Microsoft, a position that in those days put him a heartbeat or two from the top, has turned up at EMC running a new Cloud Infrastructure and Service Division that will include the four-year-old start-up EMC just agreed to buy off of him.

EMC is paying cash for the Seattle-based Pi Corporation and its 100 engineers. EMC didn’t say how much but Pi was founded using Warburg-Pincus ($$$) money and EMC says the acquisition will likely dilute its EPS this year by a penny.

Pi, which is short for Personal Information, is still in stealth mode and purposely murky but it’s about how people find, access, organize, share and protect their personal data – without having to set up their own external servers and infrastructure – and has written some enabling software and online services that’s currently in beta.

Pi’s vision includes replicating information across machines and devices, so a user isn’t dependent on a single device – (well, no wonder Paul doesn’t work at Microsoft any more) – and naturally enough Pi can provide highly available and secure hosting services for all this lovely information.

The Pi software, which is both web- and PC-based, will apparently sort information in ways appropriate to the task at hand, time or provenance using AI rules. It also claims to be able to recapture complete context like, say, a meeting with its presentations, list of attendees, private notes, other people’s notes and action items.

Anyway, Pi will operate as a separate subsidiary with satellite offices in Montreal and Bangalore. EMC expects the deal to close this quarter.

Besides Pi, Maritz will also have responsibility for other pieces of EMC’s equally murky cloud strategy including its Fortress SaaS – that’s its multi-tenant infrastructure, a combination of storage and software that secures, manages and bills – its Mozy online backup service and some other mysterious infrastructure systems and software currently under development, EMC said.

When Maritz talked to Forbes a couple of years ago he indicated he might open source some of Pi’s code. Wonder if that’s still in the cards.


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