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Microsoft weighs in, reacts at VMworld 2010

Microsoft vs. VMware — tale as old as time.

As everyone knows, VMworld 2010 took place this week in San Francisco. Like last year, Microsoft’s booth did not provide any demos for Hyper-V, as the company claimed VMware’s expo agreement prevents directly-competing products from being showcased (which VMware countered and Citrix found a way around).

Microsoft did make its presence felt in other creative ways, however.

The tactic getting the most attention (both negative and positive) is a full-page ad in USA Today where Microsoft’s corporate VP Brad Anderson expresses doubt over VMware’s ability to deliver a “complete cloud computing environment.” And while company reps weren’t standing outside the conference hall handing out copies, my colleague Beth Pariseau writes that issues were delivered to the hotel rooms of all VMware attendees.

Here are a few choice excerpts from the ad:

“But with the arrival of cloud computing, signing up for a 3-year virtualization commitment may lock you into a vendor that cannot provide you with the breadth of technology, flexibility, or scale that you’ll need to build a complete cloud computing environment.”

“Not only is Microsoft’s server virtualization solution approximately one-third the cost of a comparable solution from VMware, but also a recent Microsoft study of 150 large companies showed those running Microsoft virtualization spent 24% less on IT labor than an ongoing basis.”

“Most importantly, as you build out the next generation of your IT environment, we can provide you with scalable worldwide public cloud computing services that VMware does not offer.”

Our friend Greg Shields posted the ad in its entirety on Tuesday, asking folks if they thought it was a smart move. While the comment section wasn’t exactly on fire, one unimpressed reader did urge Microsoft to spend more time improving their technologies and less time on timely ad campaigns.

On a smaller scale, the company posted a video this week featuring Microsoft and Citrix reps reacting to the opening keynote. The footage is of Microsoft general manager Mike Neil, along with Simon Crosby and Harry Labana of Citrix, standing outside the show discussing VMware’s stance on desktop virtualization and the cloud. The best line comes from Labana, who sarcastically declares “Windows is dead!” before later questioning how serious VMware truly is about the desktop. You can view the full video below:

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Of course, things always get a little ugly between the two vendors around this time of year, and when compared to past antics, a full-page ad could be considered rather tame. At the same time, plenty of other Microsoft technologies not named “Hyper-V” were highlighted throughout the week. Microsoft demoed Windows Azure at its expo booth, and some of the most popular sessions were reportedly geared toward virtualizing Exchange Server and Microsoft Active Directory environments.

Were you at VMworld 2010? What did you think of the companies’ tactics this year? Sound off in the comments below.

For more news and analysis from VMworld 2010, visit SearchServer

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