A 'rapid move to subscription licensing' is telegraphed by Broadcom to expedite returns.
It was only December when we wrote about 2022 potentially being the 'beginning of the end for perpetual licensing', and with Broadcom's announced acquisition of VMware we are surely seeing the telling signs.
The transaction is expected to add approximately $8.5 billion of pro forma EBITDA from the acquisition within three years post-closing, which, as reported by the Register, is a significant undertaking given VMware currently produces about $4.7 billion. Their strategy to accomplish this? According to Tom Krause, president of the Broadcom Software Group, who stated on a Broadcom earnings call that they would embark on a “rapid transition from perpetual licenses to subscriptions.”
and that can only mean one thing ...
Of course, there will be the usual designs on new customers etc, but fundamental growth can surely only come from the existing client base. The formula no doubt has been carefully crafted, planned for the coming months and years, and be executed slowly and purposefully renewal by renewal.
As we know with any push to a subscription model the initial proposition will be quite compelling - savings on the spot! Existing investments in perpetual licenses will be recognised and applied! No wastage - pay only for what you use! No downside at all - wait hold on - you're adding consumption? That'll be at a different rate - its new workload after all. And the next renewal - well we've had to add some research and development investment there, as well as account for our additional operational costs, so yes, admittedly quite a jump there.
However with CIO's and CTO's promoting the relentless move to cloud and subscription based platforms for the short term ROI, it'll be awhile before those 'would it be more cost effective to run this stuff in-house' questions emerge in the boardroom, and by then, the changes will be irreversible and well ... just too late.
So we will watch with interest what else might develop over the year in this space, be it via M&A or just plain changes in vendor offerings and models. What does seem to be more and more clear though - perpetual licenses are indeed an endangered species.