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NetApp Finally Busts Out Guidance

As expected, NetApp CEO Tom Georgens faced a barrage of questions from on the company's M&A strategy. After recently losing out to EMC in the tussle to acquire Data Domain (DDUP), the executive was asked whether he was looking at other acquisitions.

"The Data Domain thing didn't go our way, but that doesn't scare us away from other deals, nor do we feel compelled to do something [like the Data Domain deal]," he responded, vaguely. "Not winning [Data Domain] doesn't expose a hole in our portfolio that we feel compelled to fill tomorrow."

A number of names have nonetheless been touted as possible NetApp M&A targets, including software specialist CommVault (CVLT - Get Report) Virtual Tape Library (VTL) firm FalconStor (FALC - Get Report) and privately-held Sepaton.

Georgens was also asked whether his own company could be acquisition bait. With its strong growth profile, even in a tough economy, NetApp is seen as one of the best-positioned firms in the tech sector.

"We desire to be independent -- I think there's a preference [for that] within the company," he replied. "I think there's an opportunity for NetApp to be a true growth company -- a dollar invested with NetApp will generate a better return than a dollar invested with NetApp and our successor."

The CEO also used his analyst day presentation to describe NetApp's own sales strategy, specifically its efforts to target the 'Storage 5000', the world's 5000 users of data storage. "60% of the Storage 5000 are not covered [by NetApp] today," he said. "There's plenty of headroom in our existing market to increase our share."
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