Google just made a brilliant acqu-hire to get the queen of Silicon Valley, Diane Greene, to run its cloud unit

Google just scored a big coup by convincing one of its board members, VMware cofounder Diane Greene, to head its cloud computing business.

Google clinched the deal by buying her startup, Bebop Technologies, for an unknown sum. She’s been working on Bebop in stealth mode since 2012 and we understand it’s been a labour of love for her. It was doing something in the cloud computing software space.

Greene is one of the monarchs of Silicon Valley. She founded VMware with her husband and Stanford professor Mendel Rosenblum (and a few others) in the late 1990’s. She led the company as its first CEO through a meteoric rise through the early 2000’s and its $US635 million sale to EMC.

A couple of years after the sale, the board got nervous about a new competitor, Microsoft, and replaced Greene with former Microsoft executive Paul Maritz.

Greene went on to become an active angel investor and startup advisor, backing companies like Cloud Physics, Cumulus Networks, Cloudera, and Nicira (a startup later purchased by VMware for $US1.26 billion).

She’s been a Google board member since 2012. (She’s also on the board of Intuit).

She’s well liked and respected in the Valley’s startup community, a market that Google really wants to attract to its cloud, instead of watching them go to Amazon or Microsoft.

But Greene is also well-liked and respected in the corporate enterprise world, where everyone uses VMware’s products. And that’s the true cash-cow market Google hopes to attract to its cloud. Google hopes to grow its cloud computing services so big that one day they make the company more money than ads, Google’s Urs Hölzle said this week.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai described Greene as “someone who understands enterprise needs very well.” He also said in a blog post that she will remain on Google’s board:

“As a long-time industry veteran and co-founder and CEO of VMWare, Diane needs no introduction. Cloud computing is revolutionising the way people live and work, and there is no better person to lead this important area. We’re also lucky that Diane has agreed to remain on Google’s Board of Directors (she has already served three years here) — as she has a huge amount of operational experience that will continue to help the company.”

Greene’s husband Rosenblum cofounded Bebop with her, taking a two-year leave from Stanford to work there. With the sale of the startup, he’ll go back to working at Stanford and spending one day a week at Google, reports The New York Times‘ Steve Lohr.

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