Class Action Lawsuit Against Diane Greene and Mark Peek of VMware: Give Me a Break!
I’m going to diverge from my normal stuff for a moment. I recently received a "tweet" from a friend of mine, Jason Boche (@jasonboche if you are on Twitter. I highly recommend following him) about a class action lawsuit against Diane Greene, former CEO and President of VMware and Mark Peek CFO of misleading shareholders about the following:
Specifically, the defendants allegedly knew but recklessly disregarded and failed to disclose to the investing public that: (i) the Company was facing increasing competition and lower-priced rival products were lengthening the time it took for VMware to close deals; (ii) customers were taking longer to sign lucrative multi-year enterprise license agreements, and were instead signing smaller, short-term contracts; and (iii) as a result of the foregoing, defendants misrepresented the Company’s business and future prospects.
Anyone relatively close to this industry, or anyone that reads about this industry space for that matter, would understand that VMware was (and still is) facing stiffer competition in the virtualization space, which was causing potential customers to take a step back and assess value of the products out there. Anyone with a pulse would/should have then been able to discern that with the stiffer competition from "lower-priced" rivals and the market shifting as rapidly as it was (and still is to be completely honest about it), they would not want to "lock" into multi-year license agreements therefore they were going with smaller, short-term agreements. Makes sense to me…
VMware is an innovative, forward-thinking company. Their product pipeline is full of next generation virtualization technologies. Their go-to-market strategy is solid. I can tell you from first hand experience that this is one sector (virtualization) of IT that is still thriving in a down economy, albeit at a slower pace than before.
Here’s another section of this complete waste of judicial time and money:
The complaint further charges that, during the Class Period, Company insiders took advantage of the undisclosed adverse information by collectively selling 86,541 shares of their personally held VMware common stock for gross proceeds in excess of $5.8 million.
Now I’m not a lawyer, but I think they are going to have a pretty hard time trying to prove that there was any insider trading going on. How do you know what Mr. Mendel was thinking? Maybe he had to pay for, I don’t know, ballet lessons, or maybe a new motor that burns french fry oil for his car. Needless to say, they are going to have a hard time with this accusation.
I guess it obviously didn’t make sense to "Joe the Plumber" out there taking advice from his "hype-cycle" stock broker who was hopping on to an already red-hot virtualization rocket ride to the price stratosphere. I can tell you with five-nines of confidence that the professionals on "the street" were selling into that rally and now the little guy (or at least some schmo whose lawyer works for this firm) is pissed off that he got burned. TOUGH SH&*%!!! Get over it "Joe". You put the bullet in the cylinder, your broker spun that cylinder, you put it to your own head, and pulled the trigger. Ok, bad metaphor, but you get my point.
I am so sick of this country’s penchant for suing someone else for their stupidity or lack of common sense. No wonder they can’t find a lead plaintiff for this ridiculous lawsuit.
In closing, the IT industry is highly competitive. Just ask Citrix and VMware and anyone who thinks differently should remove your rose-colored glasses.