In the last four years the VMware sales channel undergo several transformations, some of them less appreciated than others by company partners.
The last one took place this September when VMware decided to allow each resellers in the channel to sell the entire product line, practically equalizing entry-level Professional partners with Enterprise and Premium ones.
The new channel configuration is still made by these three levels but the difference is now minimal: higher partnership levels benefit are now reduced to sales opportunity registration and a bunch of discounts for internal use software and technical training.
On top of that a VIP Professional partner is no more required to correspond an annual fee to maintain its status, and can sign-on after certifying one single person, which has to pass a very simple non-technical online exam. This basically means that almost every virtualization professional on the market may become a VMware VIP Professional tomorrow with almost no effort.
In March 2006 virtualization.info predicted a hard time for resellers in VIP Professional level because of free products (Player and Server) and VMware online store.
This move may be a try to save them, but it seems to damage the entire channel instead, increasing number of incompetent resellers at Professional level, and punishing Enterprise and Premium levels which invested a lot of money in staff certification, annual fees and business plans VMware requires.