Omnissa downplays its VMware past in official launch

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News that VMware’s former End User Computing (EUC) division is now officially called Omnissa — and that reference to the former was mentioned only in a footnote in the firm’s press release — is not surprising at all, said Shannon Kalvar, research director of virtual client computing at IDC.

Yesterday marked the official launch of the new organization, now owned by Menlo Park, Calif.-based KKR. The global investment firm paid $4 billion for VMware’s EUC division in a deal announced in late February, only a few months after Broadcom’s $69 billion acquisition of VMware was finalized. The EUC division purchase included Horizon, a desktop and application virtualization platform, and Workspace One, a unified endpoint management platform for the enterprise.

Instead of dwelling on the past, the Omnissa executive team, which includes Shankar Iyer as the firm’s CEO and who formerly headed up the VMware EUC division, has an opportunity to “come out and really lay out a vision for end user computing in an era where companies are increasingly very much digital and becoming AI driven,” Kalvar said.

“By that, I don’t mean all the excitement about LLMs,” he added. “But there have been tremendous advancements in hundreds of different kinds of models for predictive and interpreted analytics, for all kinds of things,” he said.

There is, he said, also an opportunity to say, “OK, we are stable now, but we can go further, we can do more.”

John Annand, practice lead at Info-Tech Research Group, said that as “Broadcom has continued its attempts to mend fences following the acquisition of VMware, we now finally know the outcome of the division they did not want to take into the new partnership.”

Annand described Omnissa as a company that is “aggressively looking to retain the former VMware client base by appealing to the goodwill VMware used to have in both the enterprise and reseller partner space. Senior staff in operations, engineering, marketing, product, and, of course, the new CEO, Shankar Iyer, are all familiar faces for those who took the EUC track at past VMWorld conferences.”

Combine these staff choices, he said, with the “vision and value statements, and the messaging seems clear: ‘We will be the company you used to like doing business with.’”

Omnissa is “wasting no time reaching out to industry analysts to schedule briefings and invite us to attend their Omnissa Live conference” on July 23, Annand said.

“I imagine over the next 20 days, in the lead-up to their conference, we’ll begin to get a sense of their partner program and pricing models. Certainly, these are topics that are foremost on the minds of former VMware customers. And whatever goodwill Omnissa hopes to retain will depend on a large part of how they respond to these questions.” 

Position-wise, said Annand, “this is a great time for them, and it makes a lot of sense for them to move quickly. Citrix recently had to go back to the well in order to raise some more cash and is aggressively ‘evaluating’ its customer portfolio, which is to say focusing on strategic ones at the expense of nonstrategic ones. And while Microsoft continues to reimagine what an entirely cloud-native desktop experience might look like, enterprises need solutions that work with existing software and devices today and not just into the future.”

Annand added that the need for desktop and app virtualization, as well as end-user device management, “has not gone away by any means. Zero-trust and security requirements across all the different form factors, manufacturers, and operating systems we put in front of workers these days have exponentially increased the operational complexity of enterprise IT.”

The challenge for Omnissa will be, he said, “do they bring the same bag of well-rehearsed tricks to the party, or can they, without legacy VMware hanging around their necks, do something truly innovative? If not, then at least we’ll have some competition as Microsoft continues to win the EUC space by default.”

Forrester principal analyst Naveen Chhabra noted in an email, “Companies that use VMware EUC products and plan to continue to do so will have to deal with Omnissa for continued support unless they need no more vendor support. Support is critical for most large organizations for functionality, performance, and security reasons.”

Chhabra noted that VMware customers have had to navigate a lot of change, first adjusting to the Broadcom acquisition and then to EUC division’s sale to KKR. And they’re not done yet.

“Omnissa is a new company, new leadership. Clients will have to learn how to work with a new company, new policies, new roadmap, new licensing,” he said. “So it is not going to be as easy or straightforward as one may want or like. There are credible alternatives from vendors like HCL, Microsoft, IBM, and Ivanti, but, as always, transition/migration is not going to be pain-free.”

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