- The VMware Conference for Customers, Employees and Partners kicked off this week in San Francisco.
- Attendees flocked to this year’s event seeking answers about Broadcom’s $61 billion acquisition.
- Broadcom was not on the program, but CEO Hock Tan appeared in person during the keynote.
Broadcom CEO Hock Tan made a surprise appearance at VMware’s major annual conference, VMware Explore, which kicked off this week in San Francisco.
The event, which had more than 23,000 attendees in 2018, had very few signs of its $61 billion buyer – until the second day’s keynote. At the start of his speech, VMware CEO Rangarajan Raghuram welcomed Tan, who was seated in the audience. The camera pans to show Tan waving to the applause of the attendees.
“In May of this year, we announced our next major transition,” Raghuram said, referring to the company’s $61 billion deal to sell to chip giant Broadcom. “Since then, I’ve spent a lot of time talking with Tan and his team about unlocking the next big step in VMware innovation.”
While Tan and many VMware employees ended up attending in person, most Broadcom employees tuned into the conference virtually, according to Raghuram.
With Broadcom entirely absent from the list of speakers leading up to the event, there had been questions about what the company’s presence at the conference would be like in light of the deal. Many VMware employees and customers have come forward hoping for answers about the acquisition, which Insider says has left many in limbo. On the first day of the conference, when they saw there wasn’t even a Broadcom employee or booth in sight, some told Insider their concerns about the deal grew.
Insider previously reported that customers are “very concerned” about the Broadcom acquisition, rushing to strike deals before 2023, where Broadcom can raise prices. The semiconductor giant has earned a reputation for buying companies and then aggressively cutting costs and raising prices to boost profits. Especially since Broadcom announced plans to focus solely on its top 600 customers, many small businesses fear that the takeover of VMware, once known for going above and beyond for its customers, will force them out.
“What usually happens with acquisitions like this is that the innovation stops,” an IT professional at a small VMware customer in the oil industry told Insider during the interview. conference. Insider spoke to several small customers at the event who asked to remain anonymous because they are not authorized to speak to the press, but their identities are known to Insider.
Several smaller customers told Insider they fear that when the takeover closes, they will be forced to switch to larger vendors like Microsoft, although they prefer VMware services.
“While we use Microsoft for certain things, VMware bends over backwards for its customers, big or small,” an IT supervisor at the Portland Bureau of Technology told Insider. “Microsoft will answer our questions, but they don’t need us, we are a small customer for them.”
But the oil industry client’s IT professional told Insider that seeing Tan at the conference made him more optimistic about the acquisition, saying it was a “good sign” that Hock Tan was the. The myriad of announcements during the keynote also showed that VMware is still committed to continuing to innovate, he said.
Insider has reached out to VMware and Broadcom for comment.
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