VMware abruptly fires Fusion dev team, outsources to China

The Register:

VMware has fired the US-based development teams that worked on its Fusion and Workstation desktop hypervisors, the products that gave the company its start.


The Register asked VMware to confirm the layoffs and to explain the future of the products and were told: “We can confirm that the restructuring activities will not impact the existence of any current product lines.”

From VMware:

In some cases, roles and responsibilities associated with particular businesses will be moved to other regions and office locations. VMware continues to invest in all of its offerings across the portfolio, with emphasis on our growth products.

From former VMware team member Christian Hammond’s blog:

Yesterday morning, the Hosted UI team, responsible for VMware’s Workstation and Fusion products, woke up to find themselves out of a job. These products, despite being award-winning and profitable, are probably not long for this world.

I was not directly affected, in this way at least, as I had already left VMware in 2013 to work on Review Board full-time. However, many of my closest friends were, and a product I spent 9 years of my life on may have seen its last feature.

I could talk all day about how I think we got here, losing this amazing team and these fantastic products. I could point fingers and lash out at those I blame. I could talk about how furious this all makes me.

Instead, I’m going to talk about the team and what we built — and I don’t just mean our products.

I get outsourcing. When you are trying to keep a company as lean as possible, or simply afloat, outsourcing to reduce labor costs is hard to resist. But abruptly laying off your flagship product’s dev team is hard to swallow. It’s demeaning to all involved and, I suspect, will turn into terrible PR for VMware.

  • Ben S

    I’ll be honest, given that VMWare Fusion and Parallels essentially go back and forth version-to-version in terms of which offers superior performance and UI, when I am asked to recommend one over another by someone looking – this makes my decision significantly easier.

  • satcomer

    My God! Well it looks like on my Macs it will be Parallels or VitualBox. I sure hope the Linux guys also have several alternatives they could choose!

    All I know is this the last I will will support VMWare on any forum or help session! They really will drop in their legionary support and just as Macs are making inroads into businesses and Fusion will be off the table!

  • alandanziger

    I’m assuming that this is related to the EMC/Dell deal (EMC owns about 80% of VMWare).

    I’ve been using VMWare Fusion for years, and have switched to VirtualBox (rather than buy new licenses) here and there, even though Fusion is better. It might be worth switching to Parallels soon… Sigh.

    • Eugene Kim

      What better way to make a quick buck than to buy an established company, gut it, improve profit and margins for a year or two, make outlandish forward statements to increase stock price, and then dump? (see Dick Smith private equity heist)

  • Brad Fortin

    All aboard the Parallels train!

  • chjode

    So VMWare Fusion is dead, then? I’m not a huge fan of Parallels annual “forced paid upgrades for OS compatibility” so now I’m up a creek.

    • I’m done with Windows. Period.

    • James Hughes

      I use VirtualBox when needed, but I do have to admit, my Windows needs are few and far between. Getting further everyday too.

  • Han Vota

    I don’t agree with outsourcing as a practical aspect of any business. You loose control of that part of your business AND have to deal with another business whose goal may not be aligned with yours. Look at Apple’s decision to bring more aspect of their business I house–chip design for example

    • There’s outsourcing and then there’s outsourcing. We do some work in Canada for American companies because we’re better qualified in specific areas. You’d be surprised how many Americans have a problem with that, despite their eagerness to sell those same products here in Canada.

    • Derek

      Outsourcing technology to another country is terrible idea. How many back doors will the Chinese put in the code? Why is it so easy for hackers to get in to POS systems etc.??

  • Mo

    Commoditization destroys another great company. I smell another executive compensation scam.

  • this sucks. but i can’t believe VMWare is going to drop Fusion. it’s the best solution that allows macs to work/test with existing enterprise images, even ones which weren’t designed to be used by macs.

  • frikova

    ” your flagship product’s dev team” ??? No, VMware’s flagship product is their enterprise product (vSphere/ESXi).

  • Zac Paul

    Since they did this, the quality of support has flatlined. The people involved with Fusion and Workstation must have interacted heavily with the people involved with ESX, as things have changed there. We forked out the money since we could call them on the phone and eventually speak to someone who understood the software from a developer perspective (not JUST a customer support one.)

    Most users of this type of product are going to extensively troubleshoot before calling, and need a response beyond generalized troubleshooting. However, technical questions are now getting responded to with these generalized answers not unlike what you see on the (outsourced) Microsoft Windows 10 forums. Nothing is more frustrating than sending a very specific question or request, only to get a response that ignores the specific question and instead provides a general pre-composed response of useless low-level troubleshooting advice that you did long before calling. Then, after having to waste your time again explaining the issue, you have to love it when their followup “support” message is either another stupid generalized troubleshooting pre-typed responses, or little more than them asking you the same question you asked them (i.e., they don’t understand the problem because they don’t have enough knowledge with the suite.)

    If they can’t answer these questions, how are they going to develop new versions, updates, and hot fixes? I was willing to pay the price because the software has historically been good…however, killing American jobs and outsourcing them to people lacking the technical skill or historical developmental context will make me think twice before handing over money.