VMware CEO Calls Microsoft No Threat to Virtualization Sales

VMware CEO Paul Maritz said that despite Microsoft entering the virtualization market with its Hyper-V product earlier this year, VMware has not seen much of an impact on its sales. Maritz made those observations after VMware announced its third-quarter financial results that beat Wall Street expectations. In the next few months, Maritz said VMware also plans to update its client management suite.

VMware CEO Paul Maritz believes that his company is not losing ground in the x86 virtualization market to Microsoft and its Hyper-V software and that VMware's own product road map remains 12 to 24 months ahead of anything Microsoft plans to offer in the future.

Maritz made those comments about Microsoft and the state of the virtualization market after VMware announced its third-quarter financial results Oct. 21. For the quarter that ended Sept. 30, VMware beat Wall Street expectations and posted net income of $83 million, or 21 cents a share, with revenue of $472 million, a 32 percent increase from a year ago.

During the call with financial analysts, Maritz said VMware has not seen its sales drop off since Microsoft introduced Hyper-V into the virtualization market in June. Maritz also said he is confident that VMware's product road map is a full 12 to 24 months ahead of Microsoft's virtualization road map.

"During this period, we did not see any major losses to Microsoft," said Maritz. "Clearly, we take Microsoft very seriously, and we keep our eyes very clearly focused on them. We did see some customers indulge in some direct comparisons and, by and large, those work toward our favor. In addition, despite the announcements from the last quarter, Microsoft is still behind in terms of their product road map, and we don't see them catching up to us in the next 12 to 24 months, by which time we hope to have moved on."

The competition from Microsoft is one of several challenges that analysts have pointed to as VMware looks to grow in the next several years. So far, Maritz, who previously worked at Microsoft, appears to be willing to challenge his old company head-on.

At the VMworld conference in September, Maritz introduced VMware's Virtual Datacenter OS, which allows enterprises to build out a cloud computing infrastructure within their data centers and provide direct access to that pool of compute resources. This suite will manage the entire data center and is seen as a direct challenge to Microsoft's traditional position in the data center.

VMware intends to roll out the different aspects of its Virtual Datacenter OS in the next 12 months. The company will update its server management suite in early 2009, but it will first roll out an updated version of its client management suite, VMware View 3.0, in the next three months.

During his talk with analysts, Maritz also said he is working through some of the difficulties of taking over VMware after former CEO Diane Greene was ousted from the company she helped co-found earlier this year. EMC owns VMware, and many believe that Greene had a falling out with EMC CEO Joseph Tucci.

As for the ongoing financial crisis, Maritz said VMware is cautious about what 2009 will bring, but he sounded confident about VMware's ability to keep its sales up despite the problems on Wall Street and the ongoing credit crunch.

"Our products speak to the fundamental needs that our customers have, and they enable our customers to do more with less, and our customers tell us that virtualization remains at the top of their priority list as they look at strategic IT investments going forward," Maritz said.