Broadcom to Sell Horizon

Last Updated:
April 15, 2024

Broadcom to Sell Horizon

Unlike Citrix®, which was founded in 1989 and remained a standalone company until its acquisition and merger with TIBCO in 2022, VMware® has spent much of its history as a subsidiary of a larger company willing to enable VMware to innovate and grow. Given the market turmoil resulting from Citrix’ acquisition, however, recent VMware-related announcements have incited concern regarding the future of the company’s End-User Computing division.

VMware Background

VMware was founded in 1998 by a small team of scientists to leverage a virtualization project developed by Stanford graduate students. The company’s primary goal was to build products that ran data centers more efficiently and effectively than the current standard.

VMware Workstation, a desktop hypervisor, was released in 1999. Workstation created and ran multiple operating systems on a single computer and became a valued tool for technical users. VMware ESX® Server 1.5, released in 2002, was VMware’s first virtual server product, able to run multiple virtual servers with different operating systems on one piece of hardware. ESX Server significantly reduced data center expenses by fully leveraging server hardware and reducing the need for data storage space.

In 2003, VMware opened an office in the UK and began to expand globally. The company’s data center products and growth potential caught the attention of hardware and software giant EMC, which acquired VMware in 2004. As an EMC company, VMware continued to release and refine its server virtualization products for use in the data center.

In 2006, VMware entered the end-user computing (EUC) market with Virtual Desktop Manager (VDM), which was later renamed VMware View® and evolved into VMware Horizon®. To gain market traction, some EUC products, especially Horizon, featured integrations with VMware’s data center offerings, allowing VMware to leverage relationships with existing data center customers to sell its EUC products.

Although the bulk of VMware’s revenue came from the sale of its server and network virtualization products, VMware subsequently created a separate EUC business unit which included Horizon, Workstation, and VMware Fusion® (which enabled users to run Windows on a Mac). EUC-related acquisitions followed, including Desktone (Desktop-as-a-Service technology acquired by VMware in 2013), and AirWatch (technology for managing mobile devices and applications acquired in 2014).

In 2009, VMware released VMware vSphere®, VMware's brand name for its suite of server virtualization products, which includes vCenter management software and its VMware ESXi® hypervisor.

VMware also continued to evolve its data center offerings, introducing the concept of the software-defined data center (SDDC) as the ideal architecture for public, private, and hybrid clouds. VMware introduced its first integrated software-defined data center offering at VMworld in 2015. The solution combined VMware’s compute, storage, and networking virtualization technologies in a package that could be used to quickly build multi-cloud infrastructures.

In 2016, Dell Corporation, at the time the #2 server manufacturer, acquired EMC and its subsidiaries to expand its presence in the enterprise data storage and cloud computing markets. In the acquisition Dell took on considerable debt, eventually driving large Dell shareholders to demand that Dell spin off VMware to drive additional growth opportunities for both companies—which Dell eventually did in November 2021.

While VMware and Dell continued to partner on solutions for their customers, VMware operated as a stand-alone company committed to ongoing innovation in virtualization and cloud computing markets. So, in May 2022, when Broadcom and VMware announced an agreement for Broadcom to acquire VMware, the announcement came as a surprise to industry analysts and VMware customers.


Broadband Acquires VMware

Why would Broadcom, a semiconductor and infrastructure software company, want to acquire VMware? Broadcom’s focus has been primarily on the enterprise. With VMware’s long history of innovation in server virtualization, creation of the software-defined data center, current multi-cloud product portfolio, and penetration with enterprise organizations worldwide, VMware was an ideal acquisition candidate to enable Broadcom to become an infrastructure technology leader for enterprise companies.

But what about the end user computing products? Broadcom provided the first hint in its announcement of the completion of the VMware acquisition on November 22, 2023, stating “Broadcom's focus moving forward is to enable enterprise customers to create and modernize their private and hybrid cloud environments.”

Then, on December 7, in Broadcom’s 4th quarter earnings call, Broadcom announced its intent to divest VMware’s End-User Computing division, including VMware Horizon Cloud®, VMware Workspace ONE® (unified endpoint management), Dynamic Environment Manager, and VMware App Volumes® (application layering). This announcement was followed by a blog post on December 8th confirming the announcement.

Divestiture will probably not be swift. The EUC products are a part of VMware’s overall platform. There are many features in Horizon 8 that integrate with vCenter and vSphere. Those features would need to be replaced to make Horizon a stand-alone product. Additionally, Horizon licensing includes a vSphere Desktop license, which makes Horizon easier to buy and implement. Will customers be willing to pay the current Horizon licensing costs for a Horizon product that doesn’t include a vSphere Desktop license? Probably not.

However, despite these and other issues that intertwine VMware’s EUC and cloud computing divisions, the EUC group generates considerable revenue, making it a tempting acquisition target.

VMware’s EUC customers, who have witnessed the upheaval following the Citrix acquisition, including thousands of employees being laid off, increased pricing, abandonment of long-time channel partners, deteriorating customer support,and concerns about the future of Citrix products, have already seen one round of employee layoffs at VMware. Will VMware’s EUC division mirror Citrix’ downward spiral as Broadcom begins the divestment process?

Is this the beginning of the end for long-established VDI and DaaS solutions?

If you are a Windows® ISV or MSP looking for an alternative to VDI and DaaS, consider GO-Global to deliver your Windows application from any cloud with less complexity and technology overhead.

Applications published using GO-Global require far less IT implementation and management effort, and scale more economically than VDI and DaaS. And, GO-Global leverages your cloud services’ existing infrastructure and security and scalability features to deliver advanced functionality with less complexity, lower cost, and more sustainability.

Despite its low cost, GO-Global delivers enterprise-level scalability but is easy to install, configure, and use, and provides a great user experience, including fast logins and minimal latency, even over low-bandwidth connections.

GO-Global was purpose-built for delivering Windows applications from the cloud. We’ve been doing it for over 20 years—and we’re not going anywhere.

Request a demo here.

Download a free 30-day trial here.

Exploring VMware Horizon Alternatives?

See how GO-Global provides a simple, cost-effective replacement