EMC’s Tucci: $2.4B on R&D this year

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EMC (s emc) CEO Joe Tucci gave a lecture at the University of Washington last night in which he said EMC spent $10.5 billion on research and development and $14 billion on acquisitions between 2003 and 2010, numbers that should only rise over the next eight years. Tucci said EMC spends 12 percent of its revenue on R&D, which will come to about $2.4 billion from almost $20 billion in expected 2011 revenue.

The spending, Tucci said, is part of a plan to keep EMC from becoming part of IT history as cloud computing and big data sweep over the landscape. He pointed to the minicomputer companies that he watched rise and fall during the ’70s and ’80s  in his native Boston as examples of companies that didn’t adapt. His job as CEO is to understand, possibly embrace, industry disruptions and focus on their opportunities for EMC.

“What I have noticed [is] that the companies that have done well are the companies that have played an offensive game,” Tucci told the crowd. “The companies that tended to get gobbled up in these changes and lost their way are companies that played a lot of defense to protect their current position and didn’t play enough offense.”

As anyone who watches EMC knows, the company has been very aggressive already in the big data space by purchasing Greenplum and Isilon, and since then, getting involved with Hadoop. Owning roughly 80 percent of VMware, (s vmw) EMC also has a very strong position in the cloud computing space.

You can watch Tucci’s lecture here. Or, if you don’t have 48 minutes to do so, Amazon’s (s amzn) James Hamilton, who was in attendance, gives a thorough rundown of Tucci’s main points and statistics on his Perspectives blog.

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In every EMC sales meeting that I’ve ever been in, they say how much they spend in R&R on whatever product they are pitching. No other vendors, hardware or software, really do that.

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