I was shocked to hear that Microsoft passing out cards before Tuesday's VMworld keynote that stated "Looking for your best bet? You won't find it with VMware." The card also touted a URL http://www.vmwarecostswaytoomuch.com and was accompanied with a $1 casino chip from the Venetian. Here's the card.
Apparently, Microsoft was promptly asked to "leave the premises" as soon as they were made, but not before handing out some 3500-4000 cards and chips (according to Microsoft).
While sophomoric, Microsoft contends that they tried to gain additional visibility at the conference through the "normal" sponsorship channels at VMworld (sponsoring lunches, banners, and the like), only to be headed off by VMware.
So here's my take:
1. This type of action is boderline childish. Even if VMware did keep Microsoft's visibility artificially down, this is not the way to get VMware to change their stance (after all -- it is their conference). If anything, it had the opposite effect. And in the minds of many customers, these types of stunts further reinforces the perception (right or wrong) that Microsoft plays dirty pool. In the end, it detracts from Microsoft's credibility. It looks somewhat desperate. Of course, Microsoft will point to how many hits they get on their "VMware is way too expsensive" web site. OK, good luck with that strategy....which leads me to the next point.
2. It's a bit disingenuous of Microsoft to say VMware is "way too expensive" when Windows Server comes with what Chris Wolf terms as "a Virtualization Tax". Chris states that "If you're virtualizing a Windows server OS
today, MS licensing restrictions will force you to buy Windows 2008 data center
edition, which as you know includes Hyper-V. To say VMware costs more is disingenuous." I agree. In order to get true VM mobility with Hyper-V data center edition is required. All the other editions either restrict mobility or restrict the number of VMs. Check out Chris and Richard's posts on Microsoft's licensing and their effects.
3. It's obvious there is a need for another vendor-neutral virtualization conference in the market. Microsoft feels constrianed, and I know there are others (although to their credit, they didn't pull the same stunt). The virtualization battleground is heating up and is
getting intense. Virtualization is being tied to the cloud, a place where no
vendor can afford to be absent or not get their message across.
Look Microsoft, if you want to put up a web site stating your case about VMware’s cost, fine (I think your case is weak, but fine). If you want to voice an opinion about your lack of sponsorship options at VMworld, OK....start your own conference or something. But don’t stoop to tactics like the one at VMworld 2008. It just sends the wrong message.
[posted by Drue Reeves]