At least one person sees the latest not-so-happy-ending of crashed unicorn Good Technology as an opportunity.
That would be Sanjay Poonen, the general manager running VMware’s competitor to Good.
He’s reaching out to disenfranchised Good employees, trying to hire them for VMware, sources tell us.
To recap, Good Technology sold to its long-time competitor BlackBerry for $425 million in September, but as the New York Times reported, many of Good’s employees were upset about the deal. Their common stock became nearly worthless while investors’ preferred stock took home nearly all of the payout. This came after a period in which Good raised a round that valued it at over $1 billion, filed to go public then scrapped its IPO plans, and reportedly failed to close a sale to CA Technologies for $825 million.
Given this history, some employees with Good stock felt ripped off — especially some who had paid tax bills based on earlier valuations.
VMware’s Poonen was on the short list for Good’s CEO
Poonen came to VMware from SAP and took over VMware’s End-User Computing business, a unit previously best known for a revolving door of executive leadership.
People close to VMware tell us that prior to taking the VMware role, Poonen was on the short list to take on the CEO job at Good too.
Shortly after he arrived, he orchestrated one of VMware’s largest acquisitions, the $1.45 purchase of AirWatch — a Good competitor.
AirWatch and Good compete in the “mobile device management” (MDM) market, which helps IT professionals secure and manage their fleets of mobile devices like tablets and smartphones.
It’s a market in a free-fall since big software companies like IBM, SAP and VMware started snapping up the MDM players, and the operating system makers like Apple, Google, and Microsoft started adding more MDM features to their offerings.
The biggest standalone competitor remaining is MobileIron, which went public in June 2014, and has been struggling mightily for a while, its stock currently trading around $4 — less than half its IPO price.
When Good sold to its arch-nemesis Blackberry, many employees didn’t want to go work for the company that they been vilifying. “They spent their entire careers and history at Good, heaping coals on Blackberry,” this person told us. “You can’t change the culture of a firm overnight.”
This person says that many Good employees “are are just plain jaded, and want out.”
So Poonen and VMware saw their chance. Poonen sent this tweet to make his point:
We’ve reached out to VMware for comment and will update when we hear back.
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