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.