Earlier today I wrote an article about VMware changing the sponsorship terms of VMworld which will prohibit vendors from demonstrating products that VMware perceives as competition. (Read the original article here.) In the past few hours, VMware has clarified their position on this. (Read their clarification)
The good news: Nothing in principle is changing for VMworld 2009.
So what happened?
At the last VMworld, some sponsors / exhibitors specifically trashed their competition and trashed VMware. VMware wanted to prevent that from happening again this year, but they didn’t have any text in their sponsor agreement that would let them enforce that. So they looked at the sponsor agreements from other industry events (like TechEd) and added the language that we referenced yesterday.
So the facts are:
- YES, that anti-competitive text was added to the agreement and was NOT in there last year.
- It was more of a legalese change, and not a change of policy for VMworld or what VMware wants the event to be.
So that’s great news! I still think it was stupid of them to make that change without discussing why, as it certainly looks like they tried to slip something in. But the end result seems to be a positive one. (And I think this is yet again an example of the power of the community. Thanks to everyone who tweeted and blogged about this!)
It still seems a little weird that they have to include that text if they're not planning on enforcing it, but I guess it's nice to have in their back pocket if they need it.
Now I only have one small complaint about their “official” response: They say that text is industry standard for conferences. I think they mean for vendor conferences, because we have no such text at BriForum. :)
See everyone at VMworld this September!