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Maritz flattered by Microsoft’s guerrilla marketing

LAS VEGAS — I just left a Q&A session with VMware CEO Paul Maritz, where I asked him about the “poker chip” guerrilla marketing campaign that Microsoft launched this morning at VMworld. Here’s what he had to say:

“The fact that Microsoft is giving out chochkies to our users is flattering. It is the act of someone in far second.”

Maritz recalled that during his time at Microsoft, he helped organize a guerrilla marketing campaign during a Novell conference in Las Vegas. They had Microsoft pillow covers placed in every hotel bed in the city, so when Novell execs went to bed at night, that’s what they’d see.

Of course, Maritz didn’t mention that Microsoft, which was in “far second” at the time, eventually decimated Novell. But you know he’s hoping history doesn’t repeat itself.

Here’s what else he had to say during the Q&A:

  • On the mood at VMware following the departure of former CEO Diane Greene and other execs: “Obviously any time you go through a leadership change, it introduces a certain amount of angst in the organization.” A lot of that angst was because people wanted to know VMware’s vision, which Maritz laid out this week. “People will respond positively to that,” he said.
  • And on what the Virtual Data Center Cloud Operating System means for Microsoft: “It’s an indirect threat. … This is the way the world is going, and they have to respond to that.”

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