vSphere with Operations Management lets VMware use valuable and differentiated management software like vCenter Operations to make the price of vSphere free or nearly so. One can only wonder if other such bundles are forthcoming, for example vSphere with vCloud Automation Center (vSCAC). VMware has significant product differentiation in management software over Microsoft, and it only makes sense to use this differentiation to combat the perception that vSphere is expensive.
VMware prices and licenses its products today along a set of models that are not optimized for either pure market penetration (like Microsoft) or pure extraction of the maximum cash from each customer (like Oracle). These policies will likely ensure that VMware continues to dominate the high end of the market – especially in enterprise accounts, but that VMware will leave itself open to being eaten from below by Microsoft Hyper-V (especially in Windows only SMB/SME accounts). The long term answer to how VMware positions itself with respect to price and value in the marketplace will likely come from vFabric and Cloud Foundry, as both of these products are crucial to the long term strategic position of VMware in the market – and also will rely upon aggressive third party support to succeed.