Broadcom CEO debuts at VMware conference

The virtualization software giant VMware's large annual conference VMware Explore opened in San Francisco this week, and Broadcom CEO Chen Fuyang unexpectedly appeared in person, reassuring many people worried about the failure of the $61 billion deal between the two sides.

There was little sign of Broadcom at the event until the keynote address on the second day of the conference. At the start of the presentation, VMware CEO Rangarajan Raghuram welcomed Chen Fuyang into the audience.

Speaking of the Broadcom deal, Raghuram said: "In May, we announced our next big transition event. Since then, I've spent a lot of time talking to Chen Fuyang and his team to open up VMware's next great phase of innovation."

Chen and most VMware employees attended the meeting in person, and most Broadcom employees watched the event live, according to Raghuram.

With a Broadcom representative not on the list of speakers at the event, there has been constant speculation about what form the company will make. Many VMware employees and customers wanted more details about the deal, but Broadcom's absence has left many uneasy.

On the first day of VMware Explore, when people saw that there wasn't even a Broadcom employee or booth, there was more concern about whether the deal would work out.

It was previously reported that customers were "very concerned" about the Broadcom acquisition, believing the deal could close by 2023, at which point Broadcom could raise its offer to them. In past acquisitions, Broadcom has also bought companies at high prices, then slashed costs and raised the price of products or services to boost profits.

Especially after Broadcom announced plans to focus only on the first 600 customers, many smaller companies worry that the VMware acquisition will crowd them out. VMware used to be known for customer service.

“An acquisition like this usually stops innovation,” said one IT person working for a small VMware client in the oil industry. Several other smaller clients said they were concerned they might be forced to Move to a big vendor like Microsoft, although they prefer VMware services.

"While we use Microsoft services in some ways, VMware goes to great lengths to serve its customers big and small," said the IT director at the Portland Technology Bureau. "Microsoft answers our questions, but they don't need us, we are just their small clients."

But the oil-industry IT person said seeing Chen Fuyang at the meeting made him more optimistic about the success of the acquisition, calling it a good sign. The numerous announcements made during the keynote also showed that VMware is still serious about continuing to innovate, he said.

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