Citrix, Microsoft Complain About Being Marginalized At VMworld 2009

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Among the hundreds of exhibitors that will be pitching and demoing their virtualization technology at next week's VMware-sponsored VMworld conference, two of them -- Citrix and Microsoft -- will be unusually quiet.

Citrix and Microsoft, archrivals of VMware in the fast-growing virtualization market, are complaining that VMware changed the rules for competitors that wish to participate in the VMworld 2009 conference, to be held in San Francisco.

As a result of those changes, the two have found themselves limited to small 10 x 10-foot booths and shut out of the kind of promotional opportunities offered to exhibitors, which would normally pay extra for larger booths and especially for sponsorship activities.

Things were different at VMworld 2008, held last September in Las Vegas.

At that conference, both Microsoft and Citrix were Gold sponsors, according to the VMworld 2008 Web site.

That is not the case this year, said Kim Woodward, vice president of corporate marketing at Citrix.

"It's a proprietary event," Woodward said. "They get to set the rules. That's fine. We're the kind of company that follows the rules.'...'It's interesting that VMware didn't want to take more of our money for a bigger booth and more participation."

VMware declined to respond to questions about Citrix's and Microsoft's appearances at VMworld 2009.

Woodward said Citrix first learned of the change in April after receiving the VMworld prospectus and then sending a completed contract to event management requesting the same level of participation as in 2008, including being a Gold-level sponsor and exhibiting in what she remembers being a 400-square-foot booth.

The event management responded that, because of new guidelines, Citrix could not participate as a sponsor and could only exhibit in a 100-square-foot booth, Woodward said.

Those guidelines are spelled out on page 2 of the prospectus, a copy of which was examined by, in a paragraph that reads, "To sponsor or exhibit at VMworld, your company must be a VMware partner in good standing in our TAP, Strategic Global Partner or VIP Partner programs. Sponsors or exhibitors that are not VMware partners may be allowed under exception."

VMware's approach to VMworld is different than Citrix's approach to its primary annual conference, Citrix Synergy, Woodward said.

Citrix Synergy, held in May 2009 and scheduled to be held in May 2010, was already very open, and will be even more so next year, Woodward said. For instance, the judges of papers presented at the conference, who have all been Citrix personnel in the past, will include industry and press participants in the future.

Woodward said Citrix plans no retaliation against VMware at Citrix Synergy 2010.


Next: Microsoft "To Make The Best Of It"

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