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VMware's iPad app: A lesson in contradiction?

News of the VMware View iPad client was all the rage yesterday. The constant discussion got so bad at one point that I had to close my Twitter client and take a breather (but not before I posted a link to my own blog post on the product, of course).

Anyway, as things died down, I got to thinking: Isn’t VMware sort of contradicting itself by releasing this app? Since Paul Maritz became VMware CEO in 2008, one of his big talking points has been that the traditional operating system is on its way out. (And by “traditional operating system,” We defINitely DO knoW what he meanS.) But the whole point of the View iPad client is so users can access their corporate desktops — most of which run said traditional operating system — in new ways and in more places. Why is VMware saying Windows is dying on one hand, then helping to keep it alive on the other?

Because deep down, Maritz and his colleagues know the traditional operating system isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Sure, cloud computing is going to make some pretty big changes to the data center, and end users are coming up with new, mobile ways to get their work done. But even in private clouds, VMs will be running Windows workloads. And even with the BYOPC model, users will be accessing Windows desktops.

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I personally believe that when Maritz said that the traditional operating system is on its way out, he was referring to the OS that handles all the layers of the OSI stack. I look at it as there will be an 'delivery' system that will handle the lower layers (hardware, kernel, drivers) and their will be a 'presentation' system for the applications and user interaction (Call them whatever you like, those are my terms). Thus not a single "traditional operating system" doing it all. Microsoft is best ready for the presentation area and VMware is ahead in the delivery area.