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Doug's Mailbag: VMworld Censors MS, Office Migration Thoughts

One reader comments on whether Microsoft's limited presence at VMworld is fair or not:

Whenever my kids whine about something not "being fair," I explain to them that fairness is in the eye of the beholder. And then I tell them to get over it.

In this case of Microsoft's presence at VMworld, VMWare is being "fair," in some definition of fairness. After all, they are hosting the show and the show is all about VMWare -- why should they allow exhibitors who are antagonistic the platform? Makes sense.

On the other hand, it does do the attendees a great disservice. For a lot of customers, MSFT or Citrix might very well be an overall better choices. Shouldn't the attendees be able to learn at least a little about them? It's unlikely that letting MSFT promote Hyper-V is going to make a big difference in the competitive landscape. Let's face it; essentially all of VMWare's customers have a significant investment in Windows.
I have to navigate the same sort of issues with MSFT and The Experts Conference. Now that Quest has acquired NetPro and the conference, I have to manage the fact that we (Quest) both rely on the Windows platform AND we have products that at least nominally compete with MSFT (as well as with some of TEC's sponsors). In my situation, what's fair is what delivers the greatest value to the attendees, the sponsors (including Quest and MSFT) and the speakers, in that order. They each provide money, time and expertise, and my job is to make sure they each get good value in return. And people trust me to do that.

So asking whether VMWare is "being fair" isn't the right question. The question really is, is VMWare making sure that their attendees and sponsors are getting the best possible value from the show? In this case, I think VMWare has made it in to a zero-sum game, and moved the value meter to their side -- at MSFT's and the attendees' expense. Fair? Maybe. But not the way I would play it.
-Gil

A regular to Doug's Mailbag discusses his views on the state of Microsoft's Office:

Most users I know can't begin to leverage the features of Office 2003 -- let alone Office 2010. But there are new tools that the enterprise can and does make use of. As long as you buy your Office suite when you buy your computer, it is a no-harm, no-foul proposition to buy the latest and greatest. Whether or not people need the full Office Suite or not, how well Office 2010 Starter Edition sells on new PCs compared to the Student Edition will tell us lots about people's perception. After all, that is really what counts.
-Marc

Share your thoughts with the editors of this newsletter! Write to dbarney@redmondmag.com. Letters printed in this newsletter may be edited for length and clarity, and will be credited by first name only (we do NOT print last names or e-mail addresses).  

Posted by Doug Barney on 09/01/2010 at 1:18 PM


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