No sooner did Broadcom complete its $69 billion acquisition of VMware than the headaches have started. The company is laying off employees, it lost a top executive, and it may lose an awful lot of customers.\n\nLayoffs are inevitable after an acquisition as companies deal with overlap and redundancy. But on top of that, VMware lost its No. 2 executive: Sumit Dhawan, president of the company since 2021, left the firm to become the new CEO of cybersecurity vendor Proofpoint.\n\nOutside the company, there\u2019s concern about customer retention.\n\nThroughout the drawn-out acquisition process, VMware\u2019s enterprise customers have been worried about that the deal might stifle VMware innovation, particularly given Broadcom\u2019s less-than-stellar track record with prior acquisitions (CA Technologies in 2018 and Symantec in 2019).\n\nNow it seems that leeriness could be turning into defection. In a new blog post from Forrester Research, the analyst firm estimates that up to 20% of VMware\u2019s enterprise customers plan to switch to a new virtual machine stack in the coming year.\n\n\u201cThe impending acquisition of VMware by Broadcom has cast a shadow on an already beleaguered VMware customer base. Many are exhausted by significant price hikes, degrading support, and forced mandatory subscription to software bundles where some modules such as NSX and Aria Suite\/vRealize Suite end up as shelfware,\u201d said authors Michele Pelino and Naveen Chhabra.\n\n\u201cSubsequently, many of VMware\u2019s enterprise clients are exploring alternatives to its virtualization, cloud management, end-user computing, and hyperconverged infrastructure products despite the company\u2019s dominance in these technologies,\u201d they added.\n\nIt\u2019s a significant collapse in a short period since Pat Gelsinger departed as CEO to take the helm of Intel. Is there any connection? Charles King, principal analyst with Pund-IT, doesn\u2019t believe so.\n\n\u201cSenior execs typically leave their jobs after acquisitions, so Dhawan's departure is no surprise. Unfortunately, substantial layoffs also follow the completion of such deals, so, basically, no surprises there, either,\u201d he told me.\n\nKing couldn\u2019t speak to the Forrester claims about migrations off VMware, but he doesn\u2019t think Gelsinger's departure had anything to do with it. \u201cHis job was to shape VMware into a standalone company, which he accomplished admirably. In fact, that purchase price is over 100x more than the $652 million that EMC originally paid for VMware in 2004. Pretty remarkable, overall,\u201d said King.