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Free ESX 3i?

Virtualization.info has a post that appeared yesterday about the alleged VI3i giveaway by Dell. They cite the article that appears in the Inquirer , which (in turn) cites Martin Niemer, senior product marketing manager at VMware. In commenting on the approach, they state

If confirmed this decision will have a serious impact on the sales channel.

On one side other OEMs that have a distribution agreement with VMware (HP, IBM, Fujitsu and other) will be almost obliged to do the same to not give Dell any competitive advantage.

On the other side the VMware distributors and resellers will see their chances to sell ESX Server in the SMB market fall down near to zero.

It was expected that over the next few years VMware would lower the price of its hypervisor to compete with Microsoft aggressive strategy (the upcoming Hyper-V will cost $28) but it certainly wasn't expected so early.

Is this the beginning of the free hypervisors era?

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