VMworld post #3: A diverse ecosystem of competition is encouraged - unless you're not a partner.

There's been quite a bit of chatter over the past 24 hours about how open VMware's VMworld conference is.

There’s been quite a bit of chatter over the past 24 hours about how open VMware’s VMworld conference is. (Read the first two blog posts on this topic if you haven’t yet.)

In VMware’s blog response to how they’re handling VMworld 2009 exhibitors, the company writes “Microsoft and Citrix have already signed up and will of course be participating in the conference this year.” What VMware did NOT disclose is that both Citrix and Microsoft are being confined to 10-foot by 10-foot booths this year, even though they both asked for larger ones. VMware will not accept their money for larger booths and is denying them the space. The larger booths, it turns out, are only available to VMware TAP partners, with all non-partners limited to the 10x10 booths.

So while VMware will allow Microsoft to be at VMworld 2009 this September, Microsoft have show off Windows Server 2008 R2, Hyper-V, App-V, MED-V, Calista, RDP7, System Center, and Windows 7 XP mode in 100 jam-packed square feet! And for Citrix? I hope they can fit their 47 virtualization-related products into a single rack!

The best part is that a provision in the sponsor agreement says that (1) exhibitor employees must remain in the boundaries of their booths, and (2) no crowds watching demos are allowed to spill out of the booth into the common traffic areas, and if they do, VMware reserves the right to “resolve the situation.” (I am absolutely not making that up.)

Does this sound like a company that is “totally committed to continuing to make VMworld the leading virtualization conference in the world, highlighting the rich, diverse ecosystem that is the virtualization marketplace?” Does it sound like VMware really wants to “encourage companies to exhibit and participate that compete with us in one fashion, but complement us in others. It’s all about customers and community?”

Look, I understand this is a VMware conference, and as such, it’s VMware’s decision to do whatever they want. My problem is that they’re limiting the competition on one hand while at the same time claiming the event is an industry event on the other. That’s the BS that I hope stops.

The bottom line: I’m behind VMware’s decision to limit competition, but ONLY IF they stop calling this thing an industry conference and start calling it a VMware conference. Or, even better, maybe VMware will drop the 10x10 limit for non-partners and really open this up like they're claiming it is already!

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Call it BS or call it playing dirty, but it started long before VMworld 2009.  Microsoft is not an innocent bystander.


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Where is the problem? MS and Citrix are attending!


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In some ways its actually good.. this gives new life to the independent events like Briforum, Pubforum and all the more regional community events.


I just think its great that this is brought up and put into the open, maybe other vendors will realise it is more a sign of strength to invite your competitors. ... without tieing them down :-)


Rene Vester


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"The bottom line: I’m behind VMware’s decision to limit competition, but ONLY IF they stop calling this thing an industry conference and start calling it a VMware conference. Or, even better, maybe VMware will drop the 10x10 limit for non-partners and really open this up like they're claiming it is already!"


You couldn't stress this enough because I think a lot of people don't understand the importance of this. It is very misleading to go to an "industry conference" when there is an obvious bias to particular vendors. People say that Microsoft and Citrix do this, but what they don't understand is that they don't claim it to be an "industry conference".


Personally, I believe VMware won't get away from the "industry" ideology any time soon because they feel that they invented the industry... And everyone is riding their wave...


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What a shame, I was hoping attend VMWorld to understand why they can't properly support a MS operating system on their Hypervisor. Perhaps they are secretly planning to write their own OS, so they don't get killed by Hyper-V and KVM who are the OS.....


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I can understand you are upset that VMWare is not turning into Microsoft just yet, and that you are trying hard to make something stick from your original assertions, but maybe you could be just a little fairer in your assessment of VMWares no win situation here? MS tries to undermine VMWare show, and they still get to come this year....but they don't get a big booth? Sounds like VMWare is being more than fair to me.


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I want to be clear about this again:


I think it is totally fine for VMware to limit competition like Microsoft. That is ok.


My problem is that they are still calling this conference an industry event, instead of a VMware event. There are executives running around saying, "It is an industry-wide thing, which is why we call it 'VMworld' and not 'VMware World.'


They can't try to pretend this is independent and still limit competition.


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My belief is that this year is a "caught in the middle" year, booking and paying for space, trying to keep up the "open show" mantra - within the next year or two they will make it the VMWare specific place it probably needs to be, now that the competition is so fierce and much more equalized. Considering all the hype and rough shoving going on these days, this still will probably be the closest thing we will see to a large scale "open" event for a while, given the current terrible economic realities for trade shows.


Thanks for keeping us updated on the news with all this!


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