Sound familiar? This fate awaits all these companies:
- Dell: I don't even know what Dell makes anymore. I guess they sell PCs, servers and consulting services to small businesses that don't know any better. But this market is being eroded by an army of local MSPs and resellers, and it's not a model that benefits from scale.
- HP: HP has been a disaster for a while, but they will probably endure since their hardware is generally pretty good and reasonably priced. But servers and printers are not a very high-margin business, and that's caused their leadership to be constantly on the hunt for a newer, higher-margin revenue stream.
- EMC: Storage is increasingly distributed, and EMC's centralized storage solutions really are a dinosaur in today's market. They just make the wrong product and never found anything to replace it.
- Cisco: By all rights, Cisco shouldn't be on this list given that the Internet still largely runs on their hardware. But they convinced themselves they were a consulting company, and that ran off all their good engineers. Cisco today is a shadow of its former self.
Their biggest liability is their customer base that IS NOT changing and continues to pay for these products. I see guys everywhere trying to cajole customers down the cloud path because they'd rather be at the seat of that inevitable transition than pushed out. Many customers don't want to. So they're stuck doing the old thing that's dying and the new thing is being done by smaller customers that wouldn't even consider them.
The story of if/how they fail or rise again will be a lot more complicated than you are suggesting. Keep in mind Apple was near bankruptcy 18 years ago.
Example - EMC. I'm not sure what you're talking about, there are a lot of products. Isilon is distributed storage and selling like mad. ScaleIO is free for anyone to use unsupported and a distributed Elastic Block Store. VxRack is scale out compute and storage. XtremIO sells more and is growing at pace with Pure (which just went public). Dell in swallowing them up which seems like the least worst option given Elliott is at their back and HP would be a death sentence. (I don't work at EMC, but a subsidiary and have some knowledge of how they work and sell.)
EMC is generally just fucked because their potential customer base is shrinking. While I don't think everyone everywhere will move everything to the cloud, enough migration is heading in that direction that storage appliances seem like a risky business (especially considering the big cloud providers just roll their own rather than buy from EMC).
Don't get me wrong -- I fight the same battles with big companies about how their stupid new $50million data center can't hope to compete with AWS on cost, reliability, security or functionality. AWS runs datacenters at the billion dollar scale. CIOs/CTOs have the mindset of "it'll be better if we control it" -- but then don't realize how expensive it is to replicate all the niceness that you get from AWS like management interfaces, workflow control, etc. All those systems have to be grafted on later, and are naturally behind the curve.
I find it strange that the Author didn't include Oracle in the title although he talks about it at some length in the article body.
Oracle doesn't do this; the bulk of their value comes from software that is much more difficult to replicate.