For shame! VMware is now banning competing vendors’ products from VMworld 2009!

One of the great things about VMworld over the years was that it felt like a true industry-wide virtualization event and not a VMware-specific marketing conference.

[UPDATE: VMware has clarified the changes to the agreement. Read the update here]

One of the great things about VMworld over the years was that it felt like a true industry-wide virtualization event and not a VMware-specific marketing conference. To that end, all vendors were able to demo and talk about their products.

That’s all changing for VMworld 2009 this September. VMware has modified the language of their sponsor and exhibitor agreement to specifically ban vendors from marketing or demonstrating products that compete with VMware’s offerings.

From the agreement:

Sponsors and exhibitors must market or demonstrate products on the exhibition floor and in the sessions which are complementary to VMware products and technologies. Complementary products and services are defined as products/services that do not overlap/substitute with VMware's products/capabilities, and help expand the reach and solution scope of VMware's capabilities solely as deemed by VMware.

What kind of crazy world is VMware living in? Do they think that by denying that competition exists, more people will be tricked into buying their stuff?

And what’s this mean for VMworld? No Microsoft. No Citrix. No Neocleus or Virtual Computer. No InstallFree or Xenocode. No Symantec or Quest. VMworld 2009 will just be a big rah rah hug-fest. That’s just what this industry needs. More vendor conferences where everything is rosy. I also heard that this is going to be the giveaway this year:


rose heart glasses

Seriously, this has got to be one of the dumbest moves they could make. Way to turn a great conference into another bullshit vendor event!

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well i agree, that this maybe a dumb move. but on the other hand does microsoft let any other competitor to tech-ed or other microsoft events ? no.

i agree that this is then another only vender event which will mean for me that it will be easier to choose between all the events. I always choose the vendor neutral events above the specific events.

its a  pitty that briforum is  so late in the year and starts on teusday instead of monday.


Yeh VMWorld was really appreciated for it's "neutral" approach. Really a shame...

Although I'd go for the giveaway :)


That probably because they didn't know this 2 words : partnership and coopetition... arf !



Microsoft does allow competitors at TechEd, for example: VMware was prominently present at TechEd EMEA 2008 with a large vendor booth (at that time presenting vCloud). That doesn't mean Microsoft are the good guys, they also know how to push it a bit too far at times (was it VMworld 2008 Las Vegas, where they got kicked out for distributing chips and "vmware is expensive" flyers?).

However, that is IMHO still a bit different than simply denying access to competitors, especially in times were even Microsoft is establishing strategic partnerships (Citrix, Quest) for complementing their 2008 R2 Remote Desktop Services solution. Why can't VMware take a similar approach? Do they really believe they can offer a complete end-to-end VDI solution without any other vendor's product being included (desktop management anyone?) ?

Best regards,




I think VMWare thinks exactly that, they offer everything end to end. Just look at the ESX mgmt tools and see how many other Hypervisors they support. Their Sales teams teams imply the same thing when they speak to me. It just feels like this is a desperate company that is riding a wave since they were first, now run by ex MS biggots who will not innovate, just fluff that amazingly people still buy. This will becom the Netscape of Hypervisors over time, and nobdy is going to pay for their $$$$$$$$$$$$ mgmt stack that only supports their BS VSphere fluff. Is Cisco really intereted in working with these morons?


The only reason I went to VMworld in Cannes this year was the fact that it wasn't just VMware presenting their stuff. I've been to Citrix iForum and Synergy in the US and Europe for the past 4 years and I just couldn't take the single minded approad anymore (although I have to admitt that Geek Speak was a welcome new idea).

Now VMworld is just going to be the same.

BriForum may now be the best alternative for me.

Brian, how long did it take you to convince WMware to make that move ;o)


Don't get me wrong. I think what they are doing is a shame and not necessarily in the best interest of VMworld or VMware. However on the flip side, if competing vendors want to come to events like this, they should behave with a certain level of professionalism and compete on their merits. The behavior Microsoft showed last year was definitely not professional. You don't go to someone's party, go deliberately out of your way to embarras them and expect to be invited back.

I can see certain VMware execs having the opinion that while they would like it to be open, that they would be unwilling to risk a similar stunt again.


Just to clarify, we have been approached by VMware about sponsorship of VMworld and DO PLAN TO BE THERE.  So, even though the language has been modified, I believe VMware is planning to do the right thing and invite many other innovative vendors in the virtualization space to the conference.  It's just part of being a big player in this industry.  Imagine if Microsoft didn't allow overlapping and/or potentially competitive companies to attend their events?  There would be NO ONE there! ;-)  

Bill Corrigan

Chief Marketing Officer



InstallFree has also signed up to be a sponsor and will be at the event. Although we do compete on some levels, we also compliment VDI solutions. I think there can be a fine line between competition and coopetition with the goal being to meet the needs of the customer. If VMware is truly going to prohibit competitive offerings at the event, then I believe they are doing their customers a disservice.

David Karofsky

VP Marketing



I could be completely off base, but I would imagine that this is standard language for most of these types of conferences.  News would be if a vendor responds that they were denied sponsorship of the event.  I suppose we'll see soon enough.  Anyone have access to last year's rules to cross reference as to if there was a change in wording, or not?


Free enterprise and freedom of choice.  If it's their show they have the right to exclude whoever they want.  We have the freedom to attend or not.  Hopefully they will consider our input and adjust appropriately as attendance, or lack thereof dictates.


The question to always ask: Who ruined it for everybody? Well, it appears MS has a lot of fingers pointing at them. Burnt bridges can be rebuilt but not without some sacrifice. VMware's View product is really tied to the hip of Microsoft. I want to believe that this new clause is saying, "Being at VMworld is not a constitutional right. If you go out of your way  to offend the operators of the event then don't expect an automatic in on the following event". I fear Brian's point is valid, though. When they restricted it so severely as to say that products that "overlap" with "VMware's products/capabilities" can be disallowed then they lose a lot of trust and will come across as less than genuine.


The practical restriction is that the sponsor/exhibitor has to be a VMware Technology Alliance Partner from what I read.  And if not, you needed to get approved by vmware to sponsor or exhibit.  


The solution sees simple to me.  Just think back to why you started Briforum in the first place.  It is time for BriWorld. ;p


This is crazy...  So even as a VMware Technology Alliance Partner, we (Vkernel) can't exhibit our products that overlap with VMware's offerings...  This makes little to no sense.  My thought was that VMworld was becoming the virtualization industry event, much like RSA became the security industry event.  If this is true, who really gets hurt here is the user community.  Competitive ISVs will actually benefit from this ban as the market perception will be that VMware is so worried about us that we must have superior solutions.  My guess is that the statement in question is a lawyer provision that was not well thought out or properly reviewed.  But, i guess we'll all find out soon enough as VMworld 2009 sponsorship money is due ASAP.


Brian - Where can we get the vSpecs from? They could really help me filter out the vDoubters. Is there a version for ears so that I can amplify the vHype?


Were the rules ar Synergy different? It seems that Citrix is trying to broaden their conferences appeal with Geek Speak, Networkworlld and there this year. I am curious to understand from the vendors that have posted how the rules contrast.


VMware's positive response on this blog post: