Well, considering that ESXi is completely free to use in a standalone model, and that VMware has stated that ESX is not the way of the future, then the answer is no, I don’t think they <b>can</b> lower the price. It would be nice if they paid us to use it, but I doubt that’s going to happen.
Smarmyness aside – do I think that VMware will lower the <b>licensing</b> costs to manage ESXi and the various other components? No, I don’t. In fact, with the release of vSphere earlier this year, they’ve gone and raised prices for comparable functionality if I’m not mistaken.
I don’t agree with it, in light of rising competition, but at this stage of the game, I think they can afford to. They have products and features that are mature and proven, whereas Microsoft, et. al. are in pure catch-up mode, and have to keep their pricing low in order to attract those organizations who focus solely on the bottom-line and are OK with vendor lock-in in Microsoft’s specific case.
In a year or two (perhaps sooner), we may see VMware start giving away licenses for certain products (maybe VMotion or DRS, both of which require use of a vCenter Server, which they can still charge for and make a tidy profit on) or build the functionality into a base product and hide the cost. But I’m speculating, and wishing too (did you hear that, VMware???).
I dont think they will lower the price. What they will do is try to bundle up products and offer better discounts.