Friday, February 03, 2006

VMWare Brilliant or Desperate?

VMware, a company that specializes in products that allow users to run more than one operating system on their machines, is expected to announce next week that it will give away its GSX Server software for free. The company also offers ESX Server, however that will remain a for-pay product.

This is a model that internet based software companies have been using for quite a while (Internet Browsers, Multimedia Players, etc) though it is usually for software that reads or plays content that is created by the for-fee product.  I’m curious to see how this model works for VMWare.

Of course, VMWare is being pushed into this corner by RedHat, Sun and Microsoft who have all stated that they plan on including virtualization capabilities into their core OS products so this may be a desperate parting shot to stay in business as opposed to a brilliant marketing plan.  Their true hope may be to get purchased by one of the majors (likely Sun or one of the linux players).

The result of this ploy is going to be an accusation of anti-competitive practices by Microsoft of course.  Regulators simply do not understand that customers are demanding all-in-one services.  Microsoft and others are left almost no option but to provide the features that their customers are asking for or risk losing them to someone else.

Microsoft has to be one of the most responsive “monopolies” I have ever come across.

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