I've said this before, but my experience with VMWare is that they do a very good job estimating the TCO of N physical servers and then they charge you such that it's ~90% of that cost to virtualize them. I.e., VMWare is usually a better deal, but just barely. Drives me insane.
Yeah I know, I previously founded a company doing desktop virtualization on VMware ESX. I know it runs up to $3-5K per server, and that often turns out to be the "cheap" part after you're done with the SAN vendors :)
Even the fortune 500 are complaining about VMware prices though, but they keep paying because their whole datacenters are based on it. Hopefully Hyper-V will at some point provide some counter-weight to keep VMware's pricing in check.
You're not alone. I feel bad about the release. It's ok that VMware release 5. But the problem is when you have version 4.1 , why you directly release 5 instead of 4.2? The Fusion 3 is release after Fusion 2.0.6 and I paid the upgrade fee. And then Fusion 4 is out after Fusion 3.1 and I paid the upgrade fee too. Thanks a lot VMware!
BTW, it only costs $29 to upgrade to Lion and $19 to upgrade to Mountain Lion.
I'd speculate that's because at the end of the day, for the many people on this board $50 is probably an inconsequential amount given the benefit provided (time saving, ease of use, etc) and the expense profile. After all, someone above just mentioned upgrading Fusion after purchasing MB Retina. That's what, $3k right there? Look at $50 as part of an upgrade.
On the other hand, if some people _just_ bought Fusion 4 it indeed is very annoying to pay $50 again for Fusion 5. VMware should have a free upgrade program for recent purchases of 4.
Personally, after using Fusion for 4 years I switched to Parallels. With Fusion, even when Windows is idle Fusion would use up to 20% CPU (on a 4-core), sometimes triggering fans. Parallels seems less CPU hungry and runs a bit faster (though this is subjective, try it first). It also has interesting features, such as, suspending of Bootcamp installations and the ability to use all attached displays when in full screen mode. I don't think Fusion 4 supported any of those; not sure about 5. And Parallels has a $29 license right now for those switching from VMware, so it was a good deal as well.
I bought Fusion because of one feature: The ability to boot my Bootcamp partition into a virtual machine. (For heavy Visual Studio useage [and gaming] I dualboot into Bootcamp, for lighter Windows use I launch the virtualized machine without shutting down Mac OS X. Two levels of performance, one installation.)
Nobody is forced to buy, in fact the old version should still work fine.
No, it doesn't. That's the problem. Fusion 3 is buggy on Lion and doesn't run at all on Mountain Lion .
Though there is some truth to your point. I'm guessing it is a non-trivial amount of work to support new OS releases. Perhaps it's even more work than the new features being added. Surely they shouldn't be obligated to support old releases forever. But a discount to existing customers sure would make me less likely to explore cheaper alternatives...
It's true on Linux as well. I upgraded my work machine from Ubuntu 11.04 to Ubuntu 12.04, and my VMWare Workstation 7 stopped working. (The kernel modules it uses are incompatible with newer kernels.) There are some third-party patches that are alleged to make it work, but I couldn't get them working quickly, so I just downloaded the version 8 beta instead. When that expires in October, I either have to pay for version 8 or retry hacking version 7.
I hear what you're saying, and I'm usually on your side of these debates.
But it's hard to use the existing version:
* they stop doing updates (bug fixes, security fixes, etc) on the existing version when they release a new one. And being a complex product, there are a lot of bugs to fix :)
* the existing versions don't work well with new OS X releases - Fusion reaches pretty deep into the OS, as I'm sure you know. I had to upgrade to Fusion 4 to make Lion work. Not sure yet about 4 on M.L.
The problem is Fusion is not really a mature product. It's a hard piece of SW to write, so the lack of maturity isn't really a problem by itself. It's just that they've effectively put me on a $50/yr SaaS plan without me realizing it.