VMware is having a pretty good year, if a company can be judged by the fear it strikes into its opponents. At the very least, VMware can boast that it drove Microsoft to take out a full-page ad in USA Today on the eve of VMworld begging customers not to sign contracts with VMware.
It could be that Microsoft understands VMware's vision better than anyone. That's because WMware is working furiously to become indispensible to clouds and data centers just as, decades ago, Microsoft seized the desktop PC.
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The ambitions of VMware go way beyond virtualization. At VMworld this week, VMware CEO Paul Maritz said in the event's keynote speech that "we long since ceased to be a hypervisor company. ... We make our money from data center automation." Many of this week's show announcements have been aimed at making the data center run more smoothly and with less intervention, with monitoring apps and ways to move data from public to private clouds.