VMWare Fusion Pro and Workstation Pro Now Free for Personal Use

VMWare Fusion Pro and Workstation Pro Now Free for Personal Use - featured

Broadcom has announced its most popular virtualization apps, VMWare Fusion Pro and Workstation Pro, are now free-to-use for personal usage.

Popular virtualization applications VMWare Fusion Pro and VMWare Workstation Pro are now free for personal use. These products have been instrumental in running other operating systems on PCs and Macs. Unfortunately, Broadcom’s recent acquisition of VMWare led to anger and disappointment among many users.

When Broadcom first closed the deal, it made moves to streamline the VMWare product lineup that frustrated many. Condensing its product offerings into bundles forced many clients to pay more for their software even though they had no use for the additional components in the bundles.

Broadcom also discontinued the free-to-use vSphere Hypervisor/ESXi, impacting home users and causing even more angst.

It seems Broadcom may have listened to the consternation. In a May 14, 2024 blog post, Desktop Hypervisor Product Line Manager Michael Roy announced that going forward, VMWare Fusion Pro and VMWare Workstation Pro would both be available with free licenses for personal use.

Note: As of this writing, Broadcom has not fully implemented the online storefront for downloading the VMWare software. Currently, interested personal users should register an account on Broadcom’s support portal, and then log in to the account.  Click Software > VMWare Cloud Foundation > My Dashboard > My Downloads and choose the product you need.

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That means you can legally install and run either software at home without paying for a license. Businesses will have to pony up for a subscription license at $120 a year, though, as Broadcom is discontinuing perpetual licensing for the software.

With the full apps going free for personal use, Broadcom also announced it’s discontinuing the VMWare Workstation Player and VMWare Fusion Player apps. These products were useful for running preexisting virtual machines but couldn’t create new ones.

Of course, there have always been other options for virtualization, on all platforms. Parallels has been available for Mac users for years, and Oracle’s VirtualBox is a go-to for many. There’s also UTM on Mac, which acts as a front-end for the venerable Qemu emulation layer.

Unfortunately, on the Mac, UTM tends to be a bit on the buggy side and Oracle seems to have stopped working on VirtualBox for Apple Silicon-based Macs. Many customers prefer VMWare, too, as it is more polished than most alternatives. It is also easier to learn and lends itself readily to redistributing virtual machines.

All that to say, I’m happy to see VMWare go free for personal use. It should make it much easier for home users to run other operating systems on their computers when needed for both Windows and Mac. Pretty excited overall about the news!

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