VMware fades out VMTN Subscription

Without a formal announcement VMware just fade out its VMTN Subscription from every page of its official site.

The VMTN Subscription, launched summer 2005, in a very cheap offering allowing developers to use most of VMware products at $299 annual subscription, mimicking the famous Microsoft Solution Developer Network (MSDN).

So far the offering raised notable consensus, even winning awards as innovative product for development communities.

Today the VMTN Subscription disappeared from development and test products page, from all products page, from the VMware Store, from the VMTN Online page and even from the Download page.

At the moment of writing only the direct link to product description is working, as well as the direct link to product purchase in the VMware Store, but transaction will not complete successfully.

What will happen to VMTN Subscription and its subscribers is unclear.

More details as soon as possible.

Update: VMware finally took an official position about VMTN Subscription and released an end-of-life announcement:

VMware has made the decision to discontinue the VMware Technology Network (VMTN) Subscription service.

Over the last year and a half, VMware has moved to take the core benefits of VMTN Subscription – broad availability of VMware products for developers and ISVs – and extend them to all users on a general basis as well as to other aspects of VMware’s technology.

In particular, VMware has

  • introduced free products for server and desktop use, VMware Server and VMware Player, which have had over 3 Million downloads
  • launched VMware Infrastructure Starter Edition for entry-level use of VMware’s core enterprise datacenter solution
  • enhanced its Technology Alliance Partner program offerings for enabling ISVs and other technology partners introduced the Community Source program for source code access to VMware’s ESX Server
  • and made other technologies fully open, including the VMDK disk format, our Perl toolkit and the VMware SDK

These moves have subsumed the reasons for having an independent VMTN Subscription offering.

The last day of sale of VMTN Subscription will be January 9, 2007.

In other words VMware states that overall corporate strategy justifies suppression of VMTN Subscription. I wonder if customers have same opinion.

Second update:VMware informs its Channel Partners that VMTN Subscription will disappear from pricelists since February 2007.

Current customers will receive updates and upgrades until their license will expire, but will no be able to buy anymore per-incident support.

The last point is remarkable and could put in serious doubt value of per-incident support approach, even on other products.

Third update: Today, February 6th, VMware sent out its VMTN subscribers an End-of-Life notice through email:

We have made some recent changes to our VMware Technology Network (VMTN).

As a result, VMware feels there is no longer a need for the VMware VMTN Subscription and will no longer sell or renew VMware VMTN Subscriptions as of February 16, 2007.

To further protect your investment in software obtained through the VMware VMTN Subscription program, you are now also eligible, upon expiration of your VMTN Subscription, to purchase separate service and support contract(s) at the current list price. This is something never before offered to VMware VMTN Subscribers and will entitle you to continued software upgrades and support during your contracted support period. It is strongly encouraged that you obtain a separate support contract at the time your VMTN subscription expires. If you decide later to purchase support on the software obtained through your VMTN Subscription, the following Terms and Conditions will apply. You must pay the applicable fees for the current contract term and the amount of fees that would have been paid for the period of time that customer had not enrolled in the services. You may also be subject to a 20% reinstatement fee based upon the total amount of support purchased…

This officially put an ends to VMTN Subscription, despite customers complains.