Why has Europe been left out of VMware's money-back deal?

The company has created a bit of a stir with its plans to guarantee hardware costs savings of at least 50 percent with the promise that the costs of software will be refunded if it fails to produce the goods.

At first sight, this looks like it's too good to be true. The customer is set for a clear win with a halving of hardware costs (and the concomitant cut in power and cooling costs too) or a bunch of free software but close examination reveals so many provisos, you'd think that the conditions had been put together by the same guys who produce the small print on insurance policies.

For a start, VMware decides what's deployed, where and how. It sets limitations on the hardware that's used, customers who are interested have to sign up for the designated VMware services: the Operational Readiness Accelerator Service;  Infrastructure Jumpstart with Physical to Virtual Migrations (P2V); Virtualization Assessment; Plan and Design for VMware Infrastructure Service and other consultancy services. It doesn't say how much that little lost is going to cost but we can bet that it's not going to be cheap.

So, here's a situation where VMware is setting the ground rules, doing the calculations, setting the conditions that will be employed and setting out how the savings should be calculated. If all this is done (to VMware's satisfaction) then customers should see some cost savings. Those are some hoops to jump through; it will be interesting to see how many companies take it up

Having said that, VMware should be applauded for its initiative. At a time when budgets are at their tightest for years, the company has found a way for cash-strapped IT departments to spend some money - it's an innovative promotion that other vendors could look to copy.

Perhaps if Microsoft had found a way that Vista could have saved money and given a cash-back guarantee, it might have had a hit on its hands ....or perhaps not.