Speculating: Is VMware the Next to Join Aggressive Software License Audits?

Tuesday, 10 October, 2023

Analyzing the Potential Impact of the Broadcom Acquisition

The pending sale of VMware to Broadcom has sparked speculation about whether VMware will adopt more aggressive software license audit practices. In this blog, we will examine the reputation of Broadcom, the potential influence it may have on VMware’s licensing practices, and the factors that could drive VMware towards a more assertive auditing approach post-acquisition.

Broadcom’s Reputation and Aggressive Licensing Practices

Broadcom, a prominent global technology company known for its hardware expertise, has expanded its software offerings through acquisitions. One notable acquisition is CA Technologies (formerly Computer Associates), which was known for its aggressive software license audit practices. Although Broadcom’s direct involvement in licensing practices may be limited, its acquisition of companies with assertive approaches could potentially influence VMware’s audit strategy.

The software industry has witnessed an increase in aggressive licensing practices as vendors seek to maximize revenue. Companies like Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP have gained notoriety for their rigorous audits, generating substantial penalties for non-compliance. As a leading player in the software industry, VMware may be influenced by these industry trends and opt for stronger licensing enforcement, especially under Broadcom’s ownership, where revenue maximization is a priority.  Customers are expressing growing concerns over pricing and data secruity. Even prior to the acquisition, we saw VMware make licensing changes to increase revenue by limiting the number of cores that could be licensed in a socket by a single VMware license.

Market Competition and Intellectual Property Protection

VMware operates in a highly competitive landscape, facing rivals such as Microsoft, Citrix, and Red Hat. To maintain a competitive edge, companies often resort to strict licensing practices to safeguard their intellectual property and prevent revenue loss from unauthorized usage. In this context, VMware may be inclined to adopt a more assertive approach to software license compliance to protect its market position and ensure a level playing field against competitors.

Financial Scrutiny and Shareholder Expectations

Broadcom, as a publicly traded company, faces scrutiny from shareholders who expect a return on their investments. The pending acquisition of VMware provides an opportunity for Broadcom to evaluate VMware’s financial performance and identify areas for improvement. Strengthening revenue streams through rigorous software license audits could align with Broadcom’s objectives, potentially influencing VMware’s licensing and auditing practices post-acquisition.

Customer Response and Industry Backlash

While aggressive software license audits can generate short-term revenue gains, they often lead to negative customer experiences, operational disruptions, and reputational damage. Customer satisfaction and retention are crucial in today’s business landscape. VMware, under Broadcom’s ownership, must carefully consider the potential backlash and negative sentiment that aggressive auditing practices can create.


The pending sale of VMware to Broadcom raises questions about the future of VMware’s software license audit practices. Broadcom’s reputation and past acquisitions of companies with aggressive licensing practices suggest a potential shift towards stricter enforcement. Factors such as revenue maximization, market competition, and financial scrutiny may drive VMware towards a more assertive approach to software license compliance. However, it is important to remember that these predictions are speculative, and the actual outcome will depend on various factors, including customer response, industry dynamics, and regulatory considerations. Organizations should stay vigilant and adapt their strategies accordingly in response to any changes in VMware’s licensing practices post-acquisition.

If you have questions about your VMware licensing, contact us to get a free consultation.