Software firm VMWare (VMW - Get Report) is one of the industry's biggest vendors for virtualization solutions that help to wring more utility out of computer servers. The firm's tools are used to transform a single physical PC into multiple virtual machines, enabling data centers to offer more hosts without shelling out (or finding space) for new physical servers. With the demand for cloud services that we've seen in the last several years, that's a good side of the trend to be on.
VMWare has been courting desktop users more recently too. With a big installed base and a reputation for being a reputable IT infrastructure software provider, the firm has some big advantages in trying to grab share from other virtual desktop software platforms. Even though the popularity of cloud computing has led to some ramped up competition for VMW's business, the firm hasn't ceded its leadership role to new comers so far.Financially, VMWare is in stellar shape, with $4.4 billion in cash offsetting a paltry $450 million debt load. If management can push away any urges to overpay on acquisitions, that cash position should come in handy at adding onto shareholder returns in 2013.