There may be usually a mistaken impression that overlaying the enterprise is type of boring when in comparison with the patron aspect of the home, however having adopted the area for a few a long time now, I can let you know that nothing may very well be farther from the reality.
For one factor, there’s large cash within the enterprise, like Oracle shopping for Cerner final week for $28 billion and shaking up the healthcare vertical whereas they have been at it, or UiPath going from obscure startup to $35 billion RPA juggernaut earlier this 12 months, earlier than falling again a bit after going public.
There’s intrigue, like when activist buyers attempt to pressure firms to make strikes they usually wouldn’t wish to make, and battles for management of the board like we noticed at Field this 12 months.
There’s drama, just like the three-year battle among the many largest enterprise cloud infrastructure firms on the earth for the $10 billion Division of Protection JEDI cloud contract, a procurement course of that had every thing from lawsuits to repeated inside opinions to presidential interference.
So you may say loads of issues concerning the enterprise… however boring? Positively not — and this 12 months was no completely different. So I made a decision to shut out 2021 with a take a look at 5 tales that rocked the enterprise. It’s onerous to slim 12 months of stories all the way down to the 5 largest tales, however listed below are my selections.
The Bezos-Jassy-Selipsky musical chairs at Amazon
Maybe the most important information this 12 months concerned Jeff Bezos deciding to step again as CEO, taking up the chairman position. Now that in itself didn’t have an enormous enterprise influence as a result of Amazon is an e-commerce firm, which doesn’t essentially fall inside my purview, however then there was what occurred subsequent.
That February day when Bezos made his announcement, he additionally indicated he had chosen his substitute, Amazon Internet Companies CEO Andy Jassy. He had helped construct the cloud infrastructure enterprise at Amazon into an enormous enterprise, surpassing a $64 billion run charge in the latest quarter.
Changing him wouldn’t be simple, however they turned to an previous good friend after they employed Tableau CEO Adam Selipsky to take over for Jassy. Selipsky had beforehand been at AWS from its inception till 2016, when he left to take over Tableau. Now it’s his job to maintain the prepare transferring. He has momentum in his favor, however competitors is getting ever extra fierce, and it bears watching what occurs subsequent 12 months below Selipsky’s management.
Bret Taylor’s completely wonderful week
One of many different prime tales concerned Salesforce government Bret Taylor getting a few large jobs in the identical week on the finish of November, making for a fairly candy week for him. For starters he was named chairman of the board at Twitter. If that weren’t sufficient, he was additionally named co-CEO at Salesforce, the place he had moved quickly up the ladder since his firm, Quip was acquired in 2016 for $750 million.
Whereas Twitter had turmoil of its personal with long-time CEO Jack Dorsey stepping down and Parag Agrawal taking up, the transfer to co-CEO on the CRM large was clearly the larger information from an enterprise perspective. Whereas The Data reported that Taylor would nonetheless be reporting to firm co-founder, chairman and co-CEO Marc Benioff, the promotion put Taylor in line to be Benioff’s inheritor obvious ought to Benioff determine to step again into the chairman position in the identical approach that Bezos did earlier this 12 months. One other storyline to contemplate in 2022 is whether or not Salesforce revisits its want to purchase Twitter, a transfer it considered making in 2016 earlier than strolling away.
Field-Starboard Worth proxy combat
Field beat again an try by activist investor Starboard Worth to take over the board, a transfer that seemingly would have resulted within the elimination of co-founder and CEO Aaron Levie, the sale of the corporate, or each. It was the fruits of months of drama and it made it a significant enterprise story line for 2021.
Starboard Worth, an activist investor, purchased a 7.5% stake within the cloud content material administration firm in 2019, which might develop to eight.8%, giving the agency appreciable affect over the corporate. They remained quiet for a time, however final 12 months they determined to make a transfer and put Field on discover that they needed to take over the board, which resulted in a proxy battle.
Alongside the way in which, Field answered with a $500 million funding from KKR, additional angering Starboard, filed a doc with the SEC pushing again in opposition to Starboard’s slate of board candidates and issued their earnings report early to offer voters an opportunity to see their newest outcomes. As luck would have it, the corporate scored two first rate quarters following Starboard’s motion and simply gained the proxy battle, leaving the established order for now. What occurs in 2022? As I wrote, maybe it’s time for Field to make some daring strikes, and use a few of KKR’s cash to purchase some adjoining performance.
DoD kills JEDI and publicizes new cloud initiative
The $10 billion, decade-long JEDI cloud contract has been drama-filled from the day it was introduced in 2018. Over these years, I wrote greater than 30 articles on it, so when the Pentagon determined to kill it lastly this 12 months, that was large information.
From the beginning, standard knowledge stated that it was Amazon’s contract to win. There have been complaints that the RFP was written with Amazon in thoughts, however in the long run it was Microsoft that gained the deal. Amazon went to court docket although, stating that the earlier president had immediately interfered with the procurement course of due to his private dislike for Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who additionally occurs to personal The Washington Submit newspaper. Amazon additionally argued that it ought to have gained on advantage.
Regardless, it succeeded in convincing a choose to place the mission on maintain in February 2020. It will by no means restart, and the DoD determined to maneuver on to a brand new mission in July, stating that know-how had modified since 2018 (which is true) and correctly deciding to go along with a multi-vendor strategy with its new initiative, as a substitute of the winner-take-all strategy it had pursued with JEDI.
Dell spins out VMware
When Dell purchased EMC in 2015 for $67 billion (later amended to $58 billion), it was the most important deal in tech historical past, and one other doozy of a narrative to observe and write about through the years. VMware was at all times the crown jewel of the deal, and so enterprise reporters like me stored a detailed eye on what Dell was going to do with it. For a very long time it stood pat, however it was an enormous story within the early a part of the 12 months when it introduced it was spinning out the corporate in a deal valued at $9 billion.
It appeared just a little mild maybe given the sum of money that’s nonetheless on the books for the EMC deal. What occurs subsequent 12 months? Might somebody make a run to amass VMware now that it’s freed from Dell? Dell stays a significant shareholder and nonetheless has loads of debt left over from that EMC deal, so it’s undoubtedly one thing to observe in 2022.
It’s onerous to decide on simply 5 as a result of inevitably I’ve unnoticed some worthy storylines. What would you have got included? Go away a remark and let me know.