VMware customers face uncertain future as Broadcom ends VMware partner programs

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VMware’s new owner is ending the virtualization and cloud computing company’s partner programs. It’s unclear who or how many current partners will be able to sell VMware-related offerings after April 2024, leaving potential for tens of thousands of businesses to be disrupted.

Broadcom, which closed its VMware acquisition in November, told The Register in late December that “effective February 5, 2024, Broadcom will be transitioning VMware’s partner programs to the invitation-only Broadcom Advantage Partner Program.” This signaled the end of VMware’s partnerships with solution providers, resellers, and distributors. But today’s news reportedly reveals a final closure date for the cloud services provider partner program, which debuted in 2019.

Today, The Register reported that Broadcom recently shared an end-of-partnership date specifically for VMware cloud service provider partners, which work with VMware through the VMware Partner Connect Program that launched in 2020.

“Effective April 30, 2024, the ability to transact as a VMware Cloud Services Provider, under the VMware Partner Connect Program, will come to an end,” a notice sent to partners reads, per The Register.

VMware customers under a wave of uncertainty

Broadcom hasn’t detailed how it will determine who is invited to its partner program, leaving the possibility that thousands of cloud service providers, distributors, resellers, and other types of solution providers and their customers will soon lose access to VMware. In 2022, CRN reported that VMware had 28,000 partners.

CRN has reported that VMware partners are upset about the lack of clarity around getting into the Broadcom program and say that the confusion has left VMware users in the dark.

Broadcom may be trying to save money by having a smaller channel to support. However, Broadcom has claimed that ending VMware partner programs will bring greater profitability opportunities to partners “through simplified bundled offerings and more opportunities for service revenues.”

Broadcom’s lack of specificity has resulted in speculation about what it will take to continue to work with VMware. The Register noted “unconfirmed fears” that only 10 percent of the biggest VMware cloud service providers would be invited into Broadcom’s partner program. VMware has about 4,000 service provider partners, according to a January 4 report from CRN, which claimed that only 10–15 percent of them are expected to get invites into the Broadcom program, citing an unnamed source.

By altering how VMware tech is purchased, long-term customers may be forced to change critical infrastructure or work with a new, potentially much bigger, provider than they’re used to. There’s a deeper concern that Broadcom’s VMware won’t prioritize smaller customers during this evolution.

Meanwhile, VMware partners face potential upheaval in their businesses, too. Broadcom has reportedly seized control of an estimated 2,000 of VMware’s top accounts, barring other companies from making money off VMware’s biggest customers, per a CRN report Monday,

In the weeks since taking ownership, Broadcom, which spent $61 billion to buy VMware from Dell Technologies, has quickly changed the landscape for VMware’s users and partners, including engaging in job cuts. As promised, Broadcom is quickly moving VMware into a subscription-based business. It ended VMware perpetual license sales, challenging VMware users and partners, in December.

Companies with ties to VMware should be prepared for more changes and to consider how much they’re willing to pay to continue a relationship with Broadcom.

Broadcom didn’t respond to Ars Technica’s request for comment.

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