00011246102021FYFALSEIncludes related party revenue as follows (refer to Note D):
License $ 1,598  $ 1,569  $ 1,176 
Subscription and SaaS 524  342  217 
Services 1,994  1,459  1,003 
Includes stock-based compensation as follows:
Cost of license revenue $ $ $
Cost of subscription and SaaS revenue 19  13 
Cost of services revenue 99  83  58 
Research and development 524  459  391 
Sales and marketing 322  293  226 
General and administrative 157  168  117 
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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
Form 10-K
(Mark One)
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended January 29, 2021
OR
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from            to
Commission File Number 001-33622
_______________________________________________________

VMWARE, INC.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
_______________________________________________________
Delaware 94-3292913
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
(I.R.S. Employer
Identification Number)
3401 Hillview Avenue
Palo Alto,
CA
94304
(Address of principal executive offices) (Zip Code)
(650) 427-5000
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)
_____________________________________________________

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each class Trading Symbol(s) Name of each exchange on which registered
Class A common stock VMW New York Stock Exchange
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by a check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.   Yes      No  
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.  Yes No  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes      No  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).   Yes      No  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer Accelerated filer
Non-accelerated filer Smaller reporting company
Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.    
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.     
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).    Yes      No  
As of July 31, 2020, the aggregate market value of the registrant’s Class A common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant (based upon the closing sale price of such shares on the New York Stock Exchange on July 31, 2020) was approximately $11.4 billion. Shares of the registrant’s Class A common stock and Class B common stock held by each executive officer and director and by each entity or person, other than investment companies, that, to the registrant’s knowledge, owned 5% or more of the registrant’s outstanding Class A common stock as of July 31, 2020 have been excluded in that such persons may be deemed to be affiliates of the registrant. This determination of affiliate status is not necessarily a conclusive determination for other purposes.
As of March 16, 2021, the number of shares of common stock, par value $0.01 per share, of the registrant outstanding was 419,232,986, of which 112,011,150 shares were Class A common stock and 307,221,836 were Class B common stock.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Information required in response to Part III of Form 10-K (Items 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14) is hereby incorporated by reference to portions of the registrant’s Proxy Statement for the Annual Meeting of Stockholders to be held in 2021. The Proxy Statement will be filed by the registrant with the Securities and Exchange Commission no later than 120 days after the end of the registrant’s fiscal year ended January 29, 2021.



TABLE OF CONTENTS
    Page
PART I
Item 1.
7
Item 1A.
18
Item 1B.
36
Item 2.
37
Item 3.
37
Item 4.
37
PART II
Item 5.
38
Item 6.
39
Item 7.
39
Item 7A.
56
Item 8.
Financial Statements and Supplementary Data
58
Item 9.
108
Item 9A.
108
Item 9B.
108
PART III
Item 10.
109
Item 11.
109
Item 12.
109
Item 13.
109
Item 14.
109
PART IV
Item 15.
110
Item 16.
112
113
VMware, vSphere, VMware vSAN, NSX, vRealize, Tanzu, vCloud, vCenter, Workspace ONE, Horizon, Pivotal, Bitnami, Heptio, Wavefront, Carbon Black, VMworld, vForum, Connect, SpringOne, vCenter Server, vMotion, AirWatch, ESX, VeloCloud, Nyansa, CloudHealth, SaltStack, Datrium, Lastline, Avi Networks, and AetherPal are registered trademarks or trademarks of VMware or its subsidiaries in the United States and other jurisdictions. All other marks and names mentioned herein may be trademarks of their respective companies.
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Forward-Looking Statements
This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements. All statements other than statements of historical fact could be deemed forward-looking statements, and words such as “expect,” “anticipate,” “target,” “goal,” “project,” “intent,” “plan,” “believe,” “momentum,” “seek,” “estimate,” “continue,” “potential,” “future,” “endeavor,” “will,” “may,” “should,” “could,” “depend,” “predict,” and variations or the negative expression of such words and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements in this report include, but are not limited to, statements relating to expected industry trends and conditions; future financial performance, trends or plans; anticipated impacts of developments in accounting rules and tax laws and rates; VMware’s expectations regarding the timing of tax payments and the impacts of changes in VMware’s corporate structure and alignment; plans for and anticipated benefits of VMware products, services and solutions and partner and alliance relationships; plans for, timing of and anticipated impacts and benefits of corporate transactions, acquisitions, stock repurchases and investment activities; the outcome or impact of pending litigation, claims or disputes; the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy as well as our business operations, financial performance, results of operations and stock price; future plans with respect to Dell’s ownership interest in us, including any possible spin-off of its ownership to Dell stockholders and any potential related transactions, such as a special cash dividend to be paid by us and the sources of funding for any such special cash dividend; and any statements of assumptions underlying any of the foregoing. These statements are based on current expectations about the industries in which VMware operates and the beliefs and assumptions of management. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties and the cautionary statements set forth above and those contained in the section of this report entitled “Risk Factors” identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those predicted in any such forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements in this document are made as of the date hereof, based on information available to us as of the date hereof. We assume no obligation to, and do not currently intend to, update these forward-looking statements.
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Risk Factor Summary
VMware is subject to various risks as set forth in Part I, Item 1A of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, including:
Operation of Business and Strategic Risks
A significant decrease in demand for our server virtualization products would adversely affect our operating results.
Our subscription and SaaS offerings, which constitute a growing portion of our business, and our initiatives to extend our data center virtualization and container platforms into the public cloud, involve various risks.
Our success depends upon our ability to adapt our business and pricing models to a subscription and SaaS model appropriately.
We face intense competition.
Our success depends increasingly on customer acceptance of our newer products and services.
Competition for our highly skilled employees is intense and costly.
The loss of key management personnel could harm our business.
Our current research and development efforts may not produce significant revenue.
Acquisitions and divestitures could materially harm our business and operating results.
Disruptions to our distribution channels, including our various routes to market through Dell, could harm our business.
The evolution of our business requires more complex go-to-market strategies.
We may not be able to respond to rapid technological changes with new solutions and services offerings.
We operate a global business that exposes us to additional risks.
Our success depends on the interoperability of our products and services with those of other companies.
Failure to effectively manage our product and service lifecycles could harm our business.
Financial Risks
Our operating results may fluctuate significantly.
Adverse economic conditions may harm our business.
We have outstanding indebtedness and may incur other debt in the future, which may adversely affect our financial condition and future financial results.
Our operating results may be adversely impacted by exposure to additional tax liabilities and higher than expected tax rates.
Security Risks
Cybersecurity breaches of our systems or the systems of our vendors, partners and suppliers could materially harm our business.
Our products and services are highly technical and may contain or be subject to other suppliers’ errors, defects or security vulnerabilities.
Problems with our information systems could interfere with our business and could adversely impact our operations.
Legal and Compliance Risks
We are involved in litigation, investigations and regulatory inquiries and proceedings that could negatively affect us.
We may not be able to adequately protect our intellectual property rights.
Actual or perceived non-compliance with privacy and data protection laws, regulations and standards could adversely impact our business.
Our use of “open source” software in our products could negatively affect our ability to sell our products and subject us to litigation.
If we fail to comply with government contracting regulations, our business could be adversely affected.
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Risks Related to Our Relationship with Dell
Our relationship with Dell may adversely impact our business and stock price.
Holders of our Class A common stock have limited ability to influence matters requiring stockholder approval.
Dell has the ability to prevent us from taking actions that might be in our best interest.
Dell has the ability to prevent a change-in-control transaction and may sell control of VMware without benefiting other stockholders.
If Dell’s level of ownership significantly increases, Dell could unilaterally effect a merger of VMware into Dell without a vote of VMware stockholders or the VMware Board of Directors at a price per share that might not reflect a premium to then-current market prices.
We engage in related persons transactions with Dell that may divert our resources, create opportunity costs and prove to be unsuccessful.
Our business and Dell’s businesses overlap, and Dell may compete with us.
Dell’s competition in certain markets may affect our ability to build and maintain partnerships.
We could be held liable for the tax liabilities of other members of Dell’s consolidated tax group, and our tax liabilities may increase, fluctuate more widely and be less predictable.
We have limited ability to resolve favorably any disputes that arise between us and Dell.
Some of our directors have potential conflicts of interest with Dell.
We are a “controlled company” within the meaning of the New York Stock Exchange rules and, as a result, are relying on exemptions from certain corporate governance requirements that provide protection to stockholders of companies that are not “controlled companies.”
Dell’s ability to control our board of directors may make it difficult for us to recruit independent directors.
Our historical financial information as a majority-owned subsidiary may not be representative of the results of a completely independent public company.
Risks Related to Owning Our Class A Common Stock
The price of our Class A common stock has fluctuated significantly in recent years and may fluctuate significantly in the future.
Anti-takeover provisions in Delaware law and our charter documents could discourage takeover attempts.
General Risks
We are exposed to foreign exchange risks.
If our goodwill or amortizable intangible assets become impaired, we may be required to record a significant charge to earnings.
Securities or industry analysts may change their recommendations regarding our stock adversely.
Changes in accounting principles and guidance could result in unfavorable accounting charges or effects.
Natural disasters, catastrophic events or geo-political conditions could disrupt our business.
Climate change may have a long-term negative impact on our business.
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PART I
ITEM 1.    BUSINESS
Overview
VMware, Inc. (“VMware”) originally pioneered the development and application of virtualization technologies with x86 server-based computing, separating application software from the underlying hardware. Information technology (“IT”) driven innovation continues to disrupt markets and industries. Technologies emerge faster than organizations can absorb, creating increasingly complex environments. IT is working at an accelerated pace to harness new technologies, platforms and cloud models, ultimately guiding businesses through a digital transformation. To take on these challenges, we are working with customers in the areas of hybrid and multi-cloud, virtual cloud networking, digital workspaces, modern applications and intrinsic security. Our software provides a flexible digital foundation to enable customers in their digital transformation.
Our portfolio supports and addresses the key IT priorities of our customers, including accelerating their cloud journey, modernizing their applications, empowering digital workspaces, transforming networking and embracing intrinsic security. We enable customers to digitally transform their operations as they ready their applications, infrastructure and employees for constantly evolving business needs.
We incorporated in Delaware in 1998, were acquired by EMC Corporation (“EMC”) in 2004 and conducted our initial public offering of our Class A common stock in August 2007. In September 2016, Dell Technologies Inc. (“Dell”) acquired EMC. As a result, EMC became a wholly owned subsidiary of Dell, and we became an indirectly held, majority-owned subsidiary of Dell. In December 2019, we acquired Pivotal Software, Inc., a subsidiary of Dell. We are considered a “controlled company” under the rules of the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”). As of January 29, 2021, Dell controlled approximately 80.6% of our outstanding common stock, including 31 million shares of our Class A common stock and all of our Class B common stock.
We refer to our fiscal years ended January 28, 2022, January 29, 2021 and January 31, 2020 as “fiscal 2022,” “fiscal 2021” and “fiscal 2020,” respectively.
Total revenue in fiscal 2021 increased 9% to $11.8 billion. Total revenue is comprised of license revenue of $3.0 billion, subscription and SaaS revenue of $2.6 billion and services revenue of $6.1 billion. As customers shift from our on-premises offerings to our cloud-based offerings, license revenue may be lower and subject to greater fluctuation in the future, driven by a higher percentage of cloud-based offerings being sold.
Our corporate headquarters are located at 3401 Hillview Avenue, Palo Alto, California, and we have 127 offices worldwide.
Products and Technology Solutions
Our multi-cloud, virtual cloud networking, digital workspace, application modernization and intrinsic security solutions form a flexible, consistent digital foundation on which to build, run, manage, connect and protect applications, anywhere.
Multi-Cloud
The VMware Multi-Cloud Solution provides infrastructure products and services to customers to create a common operating environment based on VMware Cloud Foundation that extends from on-premises data centers to cloud to edge.
VMware vSphere (“vSphere”), VMware vSAN (“ vSAN”), VMware NSX (“NSX”) and vRealize Cloud Management are foundational products that provide solutions to our customers. VMware Cloud Foundation (“VCF”) is a hybrid cloud platform that combines our vSphere, vSAN and NSX offerings with vRealize Cloud Management into an integrated stack that delivers developer-ready cloud infrastructure for private and public clouds. VMware Cloud Foundation software can be consumed as a software-only solution on customers’ choice of hardware, as an integrated system pre-installed at the factory such as Dell EMC VxRail (“VxRail”) or as a service on leading public clouds including Amazon Web Services (“AWS”), Azure, Google Cloud, IBM Cloud and Oracle.
vSphere, our flagship data center infrastructure offering, utilizes our hypervisor software and provides the fundamental compute layer for customer environments. A “hypervisor” is a layer of software that resides between the operating system and system hardware to enable compute virtualization. We continue to build on vSphere with VMware Tanzu solutions, which provides a simple way for vSphere customers globally to get started with Kubernetes and modernize their workloads running on vSphere.
vSAN and VxRail products offer cost-effective, holistic data storage and protection options to all applications running on vSphere. These products are applicable to hyperconverged infrastructure as well as traditional infrastructure solutions and enable customers to deploy on a broad range of hardware solutions. Our vSAN offering creates simple, shared storage designed
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for virtual machines. VxRail is a hyperconverged infrastructure solution comprised of a fully integrated and pre-configured Dell EMC appliance powered by vSAN and vSphere software.
vRealize Cloud Management solutions–available as a service or on-premises offerings–help customers manage hybrid and multi-cloud environments running in both virtual machines and containers. VMware cloud management offerings optimize cloud usage and costs, automate the deployment, management and migration of applications and data, improve cloud security and compliance, and monitor application and cloud infrastructure. Key products in the VMware cloud management product portfolio include CloudHealth by VMware, vRealize Automation, vRealize Operations, VMware vRealize Suite and VMware vCloud Suite. VMware vRealize Cloud Universal, which was launched in fiscal 2021, is a single offering that combines VMware’s SaaS and on-premises cloud management capabilities with the flexibility to move between the two as needed.
VCF extends to multi-cloud through VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud on Dell EMC offerings; hyperscaler public cloud services including Azure VMware Solution, Google Cloud VMware Engine, IBM Cloud for VMware Solutions and Oracle Cloud VMware Solution; and VMware Cloud Verified Providers.
VMware Cloud Providers—a key component of our strategic priority to support multi-cloud, this global ecosystem of more than 4,300 cloud providers in over 120 countries that provide VMware-based cloud services. Our VMware Cloud Provider offerings are directed at traditional hosting partners, regional cloud providers and local and global managed service providers. VMware Cloud Providers give organizations the flexibility to choose between running applications in virtual machines, containers or both on their own private clouds inside their data center or on public clouds hosted and managed by a VMware cloud provider. IBM was our first cloud provider partner to offer VCF as a service, enabling their customers to leverage our technologies on IBM Cloud in their worldwide cloud data centers.
VMware Cloud on AWS—an integrated hybrid cloud solution that extends on-premises vSphere environments to a VMware Software-Defined Data Center (“SDDC”) running on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2). Jointly engineered by VMware and AWS, this on-demand service enables IT teams to seamlessly extend, migrate and manage their cloud-based resources with familiar VMware tools, minimizing the difficulty of learning new skills or utilizing new tools. VMware Cloud on AWS integrates VMware’s flagship compute, storage and network virtualization products (vSphere, vSAN and NSX), along with VMware vCenter management as well as robust disaster protection, and optimizes them to run on dedicated, elastic, Amazon EC2 bare-metal infrastructure that is fully integrated as part of the AWS Cloud. This service is delivered and supported by us and our partner community. This service is sold by VMware, AWS and their respective partner networks. It is available in 17 global AWS regions (including the AWS GovCloud US-West region).
VMware Cloud on Dell EMC—a fully managed on-premises local cloud as a service offering providing customers with a hybrid cloud experience that combines the simplicity and agility of the public cloud with the security and control of on-premises infrastructure. VMware Cloud on Dell EMC addresses a broad set of customer use cases, including workloads that require local data processing, latency sensitive applications and regulated and sovereign workloads.
Virtual Cloud Network
We offer a complete portfolio of Layer 2-7 virtual networking and security solutions that deliver innovative software-based capabilities for switching, routing, firewalling, load balancing, service mesh and SD-WAN for enterprise and Telco/5G environments. These virtual cloud networking solutions enable customers to connect and protect all workloads running on bare metal, containers, and virtual machines, in data centers, multi-cloud environments and the network edge. Adoption of VMware virtual cloud networking solutions is being driven by customers that are replacing legacy, hardware-based network, and security infrastructure, such as firewalls and load balancers, and expensive dedicated wide-area network links.
Key products within networking solutions include:
VMware NSX—our network virtualization platform that abstracts physical networks and greatly simplifies the provisioning and consumption of networking and security resources. NSX can be layered into any environment, integrates with many automation, security and container solutions and is an integral part of our key offerings, including VCF and VMware Cloud on AWS.
VMware Service-defined Firewall—a distributed, scale-out internal firewall purpose-built to protect East-West traffic across multi-cloud environments spanning virtualized, containerized, and bare metal workloads. The Service-defined Firewall builds complete stateful Layer 7 security controls, including Advanced Threat Protection, into the infrastructure entirely in software, to eliminate blind spots and prevent lateral movement of threats while providing the control isolation of an agentless architecture. This enables security teams to mitigate risk, enable compliance and simplify the deployment model and operations of firewalling every workload, at a fraction of the cost.
VMware SD-WAN—available as a service and as an on-premises software solution, delivers high-performance, reliable, and more secure access to cloud services, private data centers and SaaS-based enterprise applications for
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remote workers and branch locations. Our SD-WAN solution serves as a platform for deploying virtual network services that integrate with local edge compute to manage and control application traffic from users and Internet-connected devices.
VMware SASE—network and security as a service with on-premises and endpoint software components, enables simple, agile, and more secure work from anywhere (office, home and mobile) connectivity. VMware SASE serves as a platform for deploying cloud-delivered network and security solutions and services (SD-WAN, Secure Access, Cloud Web Security, Edge Network Intelligence, etc.) that integrate with local edge compute to manage and control application traffic from users and Internet-connected devices.
VMware vRealize Network Insight—delivers intelligent operations and planning for software-defined networking and security across virtual, physical and multi-cloud environments.
VMware NSX Advanced Load Balancer (Avi Networks)—provides consistent, multi-cloud load balancing, web application firewall and application insights across data centers and public clouds for virtual machines, container, and bare-metal workloads.
Digital Workspace
Our digital workspace offerings enable our customers to more securely deliver access to applications and data for their end users from any device of the user’s choice and from any location. These offerings are designed to deliver simplicity and choice for end users, while providing more security and control to corporate IT organizations for corporate applications, data and endpoints.
Our complete digital workspace solution is VMware Workspace ONE (“Workspace ONE”), the platform that more securely delivers and manages any application on any device by integrating access control, application management and multi-platform endpoint management. Workspace ONE brings together Workspace ONE Unified Endpoint Management (“UEM”), Workspace ONE Access (“Access”) and VMware Horizon (“Horizon”), tied together with a common access control layer:
Workspace ONE UEM—a solution built to manage and help secure endpoints across all major operating systems from a single management console that includes a suite of productivity applications, enabling customers to more effectively manage, secure and benefit from “bring your own device” programs.  
Access—a cloud service that enables customers to continuously track device state, user details and authentication context to determine user and device risk, allow or deny access and require multi-factor authentication or a remediation for access.
Horizon—a virtual platform that provides a streamlined approach to delivering, protecting and managing virtual desktops and applications from one digital workspace, while containing costs and allowing end users to work anytime, anywhere and across any device.
While Workspace ONE UEM, Access and Horizon are also offered separately, together the complete Workspace ONE platform provides customers with a holistic digital workspace solution that combines identity, mobile management, employee productivity tools and application and desktop virtualization solutions. Through the continued expansion of our virtual desktop portfolio, we offer customers the opportunity to run virtual desktops as-a-service through multiple environments including the Azure platform, VMware Cloud on AWS and IBM Cloud.
Workspace ONE Intelligent Hub empowers employees to more securely access corporate apps and resources from “hire to retire.” IT can grant access to any application with single sign-on from a unified catalog, send informational and actionable notifications, and enable one-click contextual workflows with SaaS and backend applications on-the-go.
Application Modernization
VMware Tanzu, a family of products and services for modernizing applications and infrastructure, enables customers to deliver better software to production, continuously. The portfolio enables customers to build, run and manage modern applications on any cloud and simplifies the use of Kubernetes, an open source platform for managing containers, in a multi-cloud environment. The modern or cloud native applications allow businesses to bring new ideas to market faster and respond sooner to customer demands. VMware Tanzu uses cloud native patterns to build applications with microservices and APIs, and utilizing Kubernetes to simplify how these applications are deployed, observed and managed across on-premises, public clouds and edge. VMware Tanzu includes technologies acquired as part of our Pivotal, Bitnami, Heptio and Wavefront acquisitions.
Key offerings within application modernization include:
Tanzu Basic edition—an offering that simplifies Kubernetes distribution that can be embedded in vSphere, allowing enterprises to embrace Kubernetes as part of their existing infrastructure.
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Tanzu Standard edition—an offering that simplifies the operation of Kubernetes distribution that can be deployed across on-premises, public clouds and edge with consistency, including an accompanying management plane to apply policy and security to all Kubernetes clusters, regardless of where they reside.
Tanzu Advanced edition—a modular offering that enables customers to adopt development, security, and operations practices. Tanzu Advanced edition includes capabilities to accelerate how applications are built and packaged from curated and secured images, distributed and updated, and managed at scale in multi-cloud deployments. Those applications are deployed using Kubernetes, across environments, and are centrally managed, with built-in observability, consistency and control.
Tanzu Application Service—a platform that allows enterprises to accelerate cloud-native software development, with managed access to native cloud services and portability to run across any clouds.
Tanzu Labs—a service that provides guidance and support to help customers modernize existing apps or build new, modern apps with agile development practices.
Intrinsic Security
We make security intrinsic by leveraging the infrastructure to provide visibility for apps, users and devices, and combining that with leading threat detection and response capabilities to deliver a unique (and better) approach to security. The VMware Carbon Black platform is at the center of the VMware security portfolio. VMware Carbon Black Cloud is a SaaS-delivered cloud native endpoint and workload protection platform.
Key products include: 
VMware Carbon Black Cloud Endpoint—consolidates multiple endpoint security capabilities using one lightweight agent and cloud console to ease analysis of the most complex attacks and simplify the automation of detection and response workflows. VMware Carbon Black Cloud identifies attackers’ changing behavior patterns, enabling customers to better detect, respond to and prevent emerging attacks. The endpoint protection platform includes next-generation antivirus, endpoint detection and response; managed detection, audit and remediation; and threat hunting and containment.
VMware Carbon Black Cloud Workload—delivers advanced protection purpose-built for better securing modern workloads to reduce the attack surface and strengthen security postures. The solution combines prioritized vulnerability reporting and foundational workload hardening with industry-leading prevention, detection and response capabilities to protect workloads running in virtualized private and hybrid cloud environments. VMware Carbon Black Cloud Workload is also tightly integrated with vSphere to provide agentless security that alleviates installation and management overhead and consolidates the collection or telemetry for multiple workload security use cases.
Technology Alliances
We have more than 900 technology partners with whom we bring offerings to the marketplace and over 4,500 active cloud and managed service provider partners. We classify our partners as follows:
Independent Hardware Vendors (“IHVs”)—we have established relationships with large system vendors, including Apple, Cisco, Fujitsu, Hitachi, HPE, IBM, Lenovo and Samsung for certification and co-development, and we continue to work closely with Dell. We also work closely with Intel, NVIDIA and other IHVs to provide input on product development to enable them to deliver hardware advancements that benefit virtualization users. We coordinate with the leading storage and networking vendors to ensure interoperability and enable our software to access their differentiated functionality.
Independent Software Vendors (“ISVs”)—we partner with leading systems management, infrastructure software and application software vendors, including healthcare, telecom, finance and retail leaders, to deliver value-added products that integrate with our products.
VMware Cloud Providers—we have established partnerships with over 4,500 active cloud and managed service providers, including Microsoft, Google, Oracle, Lumen, Fujitsu, IBM, KPN, NTT, OVH, Rackspace, Softbank, Telefonica, Tieto and Virtustream supporting our multi-cloud strategy. These partners leverage our cloud technologies to host and deliver enterprise-class cloud services for enterprises to extend their data centers to external clouds, while preserving security, compliance and quality of service.
In addition to our base of active partnerships with cloud providers, we have a strategic alliance with AWS to build and deliver an integrated hybrid offering, VMware Cloud on AWS, that enables customers to run applications across vSphere-based private, public and multi-cloud environments.
Our Technology Alliance Partner (“TAP”) program facilitates collaborative solution creation and coordinated go-to-market activities for our more than 900 technology partner ecosystem. Created exclusively for IHV and ISV partners, the TAP program
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gives technology partners the ability to test, integrate and package application software, infrastructure and hardware products with our products and services offerings—on premises or in the cloud.
Our ISVs and other alliance partners, developers and additional VMware community members continue to distribute software applications as virtual appliances. We invest significant capital in testing and certification of infrastructure to rigorously ensure our software is compatible with major hardware and software products.
Research and Development
We have made, and expect to continue to make, significant investments in research and development (“R&D”). We have assembled an experienced group of developers with expertise in software-defined data centers, hybrid and multiple public clouds, the modernization, migration and management of applications, networking, security, and digital workspaces. We also have strong ties to leading academic institutions around the world, and we invest in joint research with academia.
We prioritize our product development efforts through a combination of engineering-driven innovation and customer- and market-driven feedback. Our R&D culture places a high value on innovation, quality and open collaboration with our partners. We currently participate in numerous standards groups, and our employees hold a variety of standards organization leadership positions.
We continue to invest in our key growth areas while also investing in areas that we expect to be significant growth drivers in future periods.
Sales and Marketing
We have a highly leveraged go-to-market strategy that includes a direct sales force, including a specialized sales force for our key growth offerings, and our channel and cloud partners.
We have established ongoing business relationships with our distributors. Our distributors purchase software licenses and software support from us for resale to end-user customers via resellers. These resellers are part of our VMware Partner Connect (formerly known as VMware Partner Network), a program which offers resellers pricing incentives, rebates, sales and product training through the VMware Partner Connect web portal, and access to the worldwide network of VMware distributors. In addition, our channel partner network includes certain systems integrators and resellers trained and certified to deliver consulting services and solutions leveraging our products. Our channel network also includes partners that host our products and deliver them as a service to customers.
We generally do not have long-term contracts or minimum-purchase commitments with our distributors, resellers, system vendors and systems integrators, and our contracts with these channel partners do not prohibit them from offering products or services that compete with ours.
End users can purchase the full breadth of our subscription, SaaS, perpetual license, and services portfolio through discrete purchases to meet their immediate needs or through the adoption of enterprise agreements (“EAs”). Both of which provide access to a range of flexible purchasing programs. EAs are comprehensive offerings that may include license and subscription and SaaS, offered both directly by us and through certain channel partners that also provide for multi-year maintenance and support. EAs enable us to build long-term relationships with our customers as they commit to our virtual infrastructure solutions. Our sales cycle can vary greatly depending on numerous factors, including the size and complexity of the proposed offering and customer’s infrastructure footprint.
In establishing list prices for our products, we take into account, among other numerous factors, the value our products and solutions deliver and the cost of alternative virtualization, end-user computing and hardware solutions.
Our marketing efforts focus on communicating the benefits of our solutions and educating our customers and users, distributors, resellers, system vendors, systems integrators, the media and analysts about the advantages of our innovative offerings. We raise awareness of our company and brands, market our products and generate sales leads through VMware and industry events, public relations efforts, marketing materials, advertising, direct marketing, social media initiatives, free downloads and trials, and our website. We have invested in multiple online communities that enable customers and partners to share and discuss sales and development resources, best practices implementation and industry trends among other topics. Our annual user conferences, VMworld, vForum, Connect and SpringOne are held globally. We also offer management presentations, seminars and webinars on our solutions and services. We believe the combination of these activities strengthens our brand and enhances our leading positions in the industries in which we compete.
We continue joint marketing, sales, branding and product development efforts with Dell and other Dell companies to enhance the collective value we deliver to our mutual customers. Our collective business with Dell continued to create synergies that benefited our sales during fiscal 2021. Bookings through Dell sales channels have grown more rapidly than through non-Dell resellers and distributors, and Dell sales channels in aggregate comprise the largest route-to-market for our sales. We also have strategic partnerships with AWS, Google, IBM and Microsoft to jointly provide the expertise, solutions and
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go-to-market capabilities to help our customers efficiently and more securely extend their proven software-defined solutions into public clouds, utilizing the tools and processes with which our customers are already familiar.
Our business is subject to seasonality in the sale of our products and services. For example, our fourth quarter revenue is affected by a number of seasonal factors, including year-end spending trends which impact the timing of renewals of our EAs and support and maintenance contracts.
Remaining Performance Obligations
Remaining performance obligations represent the aggregate amount of the transaction price in contracts allocated to performance obligations not delivered, or partially undelivered, as of the end of the reporting period. Remaining performance obligations include unearned revenue, multi-year contracts with future installment payments and certain unfulfilled orders against accepted customer contracts at the end of any given period.
As of January 29, 2021, the aggregate transaction price allocated to remaining performance obligations was $11.3 billion, of which approximately 55% is expected to be recognized as revenue over the next twelve months and the remainder thereafter.
As of January 31, 2020, the aggregate transaction price allocated to remaining performance obligations was $10.3 billion, of which approximately 54% was expected to be recognized as revenue during fiscal 2021, and the remainder thereafter.
Backlog
Backlog is comprised of unfulfilled purchase orders or unfulfilled executed agreements at the end of a given period and is net of related estimated rebates and marketing development funds. Backlog consists of licenses, subscription and SaaS, and services. As of January 29, 2021, our total backlog was $93 million and our backlog related to licenses was $23 million. For our backlog related to licenses, we generally expect to deliver and recognize as revenue during the following quarter. Backlog totaling $18 million as of January 29, 2021 was excluded from the remaining performance obligations because such contracts are subject to cancellation until fulfillment of the performance obligation occurs.
As of January 31, 2020, our total backlog was $18 million, and our backlog related to licenses was $5 million. The amount excluded from the remaining performance obligations because such contracts were subject to cancellation until fulfillment of the performance obligation occurs was not material as of January 31, 2020.
The amount and composition of backlog will fluctuate period to period, and backlog is managed based upon multiple considerations, including product and geography. We do not believe that the amount of backlog is indicative of future sales or revenue or that the mix of backlog at the end of any given period correlates with actual sales performance of a particular geography or particular products or services.
Customers
Our product offerings allow customers to manage IT resources across private clouds and complex multi-cloud, multi-device environments. Customer deployments range in size from a single virtualized server for small businesses to thousands of virtual machines and managed devices for our largest enterprise customers.
During fiscal 2021, revenue from Dell, including purchases of products and services directly from us, as well as through our channel partners, accounted for 35% of our consolidated revenue. These purchases included Dell selling joint solutions as an OEM, which accounted for 12% of revenue from Dell, or 4% of our consolidated revenue. The remaining revenue from Dell consisted of Dell acting as a distributor to other non-Dell resellers, reselling products and services as a reseller or purchasing products and services for its own internal use. On certain transactions, Dell Financial Services also provided financing to our end users at our end users’ discretion.
During fiscal 2021, another distributor, Arrow Electronics, Inc., who purchased software licenses and software support from us for resale to end-user customers directly or via resellers, accounted for 11% of our consolidated revenue. Our distribution agreements are typically terminable at will by either party upon 30 to 90 days’ prior written notice to the other party, and neither party has any obligation to purchase or sell any products under the agreement.
Competition
We face intense competition across all markets for our products and services. We believe that the key factors in our ability to successfully compete include the level of reliability, interoperability and new functionality of our product and service offerings; the ability of our product offerings to support multiple hardware platforms, operating systems, applications frameworks and public cloud platforms; our ability to anticipate customer needs in rapidly evolving markets for IT resources; the pricing of our product and service offerings; the ability to integrate open source technologies that are critical in private and public cloud computing architectures; the ability to attract and retain key employees; and the ability to maintain and expand our ecosystem of technology partners, service providers and sales channel partners. While we believe that we are a technology leader in virtualization and cloud infrastructure solutions and have a strong, favorable image with our customers, many of our
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current or potential competitors have longer operating histories, greater name recognition, larger customer bases and significantly greater financial, technical, sales, marketing and other resources than we do. Additionally, the adoption of public cloud, micro-services, containers and open source technologies has the potential to erode our profitability.
We face competition from, among others:
Providers of public cloud infrastructure and SaaS-based offerings. As businesses increasingly utilize public cloud and SaaS-based offerings, they are building more of their new compute workloads off-premises and may also shift some of their existing workloads. As a result, the demand for on-premises IT resources is expected to slow, and our products and services will need to increasingly compete for customers’ IT workloads with off-premises public cloud and SaaS-based offerings. If our private, hybrid and multi-cloud products and services fail to address evolving customer requirements, the demand for our virtualization products and services may decline, and we could experience lower growth. Additionally, VCPP offerings from our partners may compete directly with infrastructure-as-a-service (“IaaS”) offerings from various public cloud providers such as AWS and Microsoft. Many of these cloud providers are partnering with on-premises hardware vendors to deliver their cloud platform as an on-premise solution, including Microsoft Azure Stack (“Azure Stack”) and AWS Outposts. In fiscal 2018, we entered into a strategic alliance with AWS to deliver a vSphere-based cloud service, VMware Cloud on AWS, running in AWS data centers available in certain geographies. In fiscal 2020, we also announced partnerships with Microsoft (Azure VMware Solution by CloudSimple), Google (Google Cloud VMware Solution by CloudSimple), and Oracle (Oracle Cloud VMware Solution) under the framework of our VCPP that enable customers to run native VMware-based workloads on Azure, Google Cloud and Oracle Cloud. Our partnerships with these public cloud providers may be seen as competitive with each other, with other VCPP partners and with AWS, while some VCPP partners may elect to include solutions such as VMware Cloud on AWS as part of their managed services provider offerings. In addition, in November 2018, when AWS announced AWS Outposts, we extended our collaboration with AWS by previewing offerings that will run on AWS Outposts. To the extent customers choose to operate native AWS environments (or similar non-VMware environments, such as Azure Stack) in their data centers in lieu of purchasing our on-premises and hybrid and multi-cloud products, our operating results could be materially adversely affected.
Providers of enterprise security offerings. With the close of VMware’s acquisition of Carbon Black in October 2019, we launched a new set of enterprise security solutions that includes the Carbon Black endpoint security platform and the intrinsic security elements of our existing NSX virtual networking, Workspace ONE end user and our compute offerings. The cybersecurity market is large, highly competitive, fragmented and subject to rapidly evolving technology, shifting customer needs and the frequent introductions of new solutions. Competitors in the end point security space include legacy antivirus solution providers such as McAfee and NortonLifeLock, established software and infrastructure providers such as Blackberry Limited (after recently purchasing Cylance, Inc.) and Microsoft as well as next-generation endpoint security providers such as CrowdStrike. In addition, new startup companies and established companies have entered or are currently attempting to enter the next-generation endpoint security market. While we believe that the intrinsic security elements in our existing offerings coupled with our Carbon Black endpoint security offerings and new combined offerings we expect to develop and introduce in the future will enable us to provide an integrated security offering with significant advantages over our competitors’ current offerings, our ability to gain traction and market share as a new entrant into this well-established market segment is uncertain. New trends such as Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) and Zero Trust Network Access represent the coalescence of formerly distinct markets, such as identity management, secure web gateway, SD-WAN, network firewall, and cloud access security brokers. These trends may bring existing partners such as Zscaler and Okta, into a more competitive position with Carbon Black, VeloCloud and other distributed network security offerings from VMware. If we are unable to successfully adapt our product and service offerings to meet these opportunities and rapidly evolving trends, our operating results could be adversely affected.
Large, diversified enterprise software and hardware companies. These competitors supply a wide variety of products and services to, and have well-established relationships with, our current and prospective end users. For example, small- to medium-sized businesses and companies in emerging markets that are evaluating the adoption of virtualization-based technologies and solutions may be inclined to consider Microsoft solutions because of their existing use of Windows and Office products. Some of these competitors have in the past and may in the future take advantage of their existing relationships to engage in business practices that make our products and services less attractive to our end users. For example, in August 2019, Microsoft modified its on-premises licensing terms to require end users who wish to deploy Microsoft software on certain dedicated hosted cloud services other than Microsoft’s Azure cloud service, including VMware Cloud on AWS, to purchase additional rights from Microsoft. Other competitors have limited or denied support for their applications running in VMware virtualization environments. In addition, these competitors could integrate competitive capabilities into their existing products and services and make them available without additional charge. For example, Oracle provides free server virtualization software intended to support Oracle and non-Oracle applications, Microsoft offers its own server, network, and storage virtualization software packaged with its Windows Server product as well as built-in virtualization in the client version of Windows and Cisco includes network virtualization technology in many of their data center networking platforms. As a result, our existing and prospective customers may elect to use products that are perceived to be “free” or “very low cost” instead of
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purchasing our products and services for certain applications where they do not believe that more advanced and robust capabilities are required.
Companies offering competing platforms based on open source technologies. Open source technologies for virtualization, containerization and cloud platforms, such as Xen, KVM, Docker, rkt, OpenShift, Mesos, Kubernetes and OpenStack, and other open source software-based products, solutions and services developed by enterprise IT vendors that target data center virtualization and private cloud, such as Red Hat (now a part of IBM) and Nutanix, may reduce the demand for our solutions, put pricing pressure on our offerings and enable competing vendors to leverage open source technologies to compete directly with us. In addition, one of the characteristics of open source software is that, subject to specified restrictions, anyone may modify and redistribute existing open source software and use it to compete in the marketplace. Such competition can develop with a smaller degree of overhead and lead time than traditional proprietary software companies require. New platform technologies and standards based on open source software are consistently being developed and can gain popularity quickly. Improvements in open source software could cause customers to replace software purchased from us with open-source software. We are delivering container technologies, such as PKS, and Cloud Native Application technologies portfolio with VMware Tanzu. We have also increased our level of commitment to open source projects and communities like the Cloud Native Computing Foundation that are designed to increase that rate at which customers adopt micro-services architectures. The adoption of distributed micro-service application architectures, and their alignment with container technologies, represents an emerging area of competition. As we continue to invest in these areas, we will experience increasing competitive overlap with other cloud native vendors like Red Hat and the large providers of public cloud infrastructure. Such competitive pressure or the availability of new open source software may result in reduced sales, price reductions, lower operating margins and increased sales and marketing expenses, any one of which may adversely affect our operating results.
Other industry alliances. Many of our competitors have entered into or extended partnerships or other strategic relationships to offer more comprehensive virtualization and cloud computing solutions than they individually had offered. We expect these trends to continue as companies attempt to strengthen or maintain their positions in the evolving virtualization infrastructure and enterprise IT solutions industry. These alliances may result in more compelling product and service offerings than we offer.
Our partners and members of our developer and technology partner ecosystem. We face competition from our partners. For example, third parties currently selling our products and services could build and market their own competing products and services or market competing products and services of other vendors. Additionally, as formerly distinct sectors of enterprise IT such as software-based virtualization and hardware-based server, networking and storage solutions converge, we also increasingly compete with companies who are members of our developer and technology partner ecosystem. For example, in July 2019, one of our important partners and customers, IBM, closed its acquisition of Red Hat, one of our competitors in the cloud native applications space. Consequently, we may find it more difficult to continue to work together productively on other projects, and the advantages we derive from our ecosystem could diminish.
This competition could result in increased pricing pressure and sales and marketing expenses, thereby materially reducing our operating margins, and could also prevent our new products and services from gaining market acceptance, thereby harming our ability to increase, or causing us to lose, market share.
Intellectual Property
As of January 29, 2021, over 4,100 patents of varying duration issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office have been granted or assigned to us. We also have been granted or assigned patents from other countries. These patents cover various aspects of our server virtualization and other technologies. We also have numerous pending U.S. provisional and non-provisional patent applications, and numerous pending foreign and international patent applications, that cover other aspects of our virtualization and other technologies.
We have federal trademark registrations in the U.S. for “VMWARE,” “VMWORLD,” “VSPHERE,” “VCLOUD,” “VCENTER SERVER,” “VMOTION,” “HORIZON,” “AIRWATCH,” “VREALIZE,” “VCLOUD,” “WORKSPACE ONE,” “ESX,” “VMWARE NSX,” “VMWARE CLOUD FOUNDATION,” “VELOCLOUD,” “CARBON BLACK,” “BITNAMI” and “PIVOTAL” and numerous other trademarks. We also have trademarks registered in several foreign countries.
We rely on a combination of patent, trademark, copyright and trade secret laws in the U.S. and other jurisdictions, as well as confidentiality procedures and contractual provisions to protect our intellectual property rights and our brand.
We enforce our intellectual property rights in the U.S. and several foreign countries. Despite our efforts, the steps we have taken to protect our proprietary rights may not be adequate to preclude misappropriation of our proprietary information or infringement of our intellectual property rights, and our ability to police such misappropriation or infringement is uncertain, particularly in countries outside of the U.S. patent filings are intended to provide the holder with a right to exclude others from making, using, offering to sell, selling or importing into the U.S. products covered by the claims of granted patents.
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Our granted U.S. patents, and any future patents (to the extent they are issued), may be contested, circumvented or invalidated in the future. Moreover, the rights granted under any issued patents may not provide us with proprietary protection or competitive advantages, and we may not be able to prevent third parties from infringing these patents. Therefore, the exact effect of our patents and the other steps we have taken to protect our intellectual property cannot be predicted with certainty.
Environmental, Social and Governance
At VMware, we believe technology can have a positive impact on society and the planet. In December 2020, we announced our 2030 Agenda, which represents our ESG Strategy focused on three business outcomes: Trust, Equity and Sustainability. Our 2030 Agenda is designed for all VMware stakeholders: stockholders, customers, employees, partners, suppliers, communities and the environment. To promote long-term stakeholder value creation, we created an ESG governance structure comprised of internal leadership and members of our executive staff to guide strategy, performance measurement and engage with our Board of Directors to review our ESG strategy.
Sustainability
We are committed to creating products and services that support our customers in reducing the environmental impact of their digital infrastructure. In addition to operating as a certified CarbonNeutral® company, in accordance with The CarbonNeutral Protocol, and procuring 100% renewable energy for our operations, in accordance with RE100’s technical guidance, during fiscal 2021, we received validation of our science-based targets from the Science Based Targets Initiative organization (“SBTi”) to address climate change. This year, we utilized concepts from the Financial Stability Board’s (“FSB”) Taskforce for Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (“TCFD”) framework in our reporting processes. Additionally, we were recognized on CDP’s Climate A List (formerly known as Carbon Disclosure Project) and added to the 2020 Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (“DJSI”).
Human Capital
General Demographics
As of January 29, 2021, we employed approximately 34,000 employees located in 60 countries, approximately 15,000 of which work in the U.S.
We contract with Dell subsidiaries for support from Dell personnel who are managed by us on a full-time basis. These individuals are located in countries in which we do not currently have an operating subsidiary and are predominantly dedicated to our sales and marketing efforts. We use contractors from time to time for temporary assignments and in locations in which we do not currently have operating subsidiaries. In the event that these contractor resources were not available, we do not believe that this would have a material adverse effect on our operations. As of January 29, 2021, less than 5% of our employees were contracted through Dell. None of our employees are represented by labor unions, and we consider current employee relations to be good.
COVID-19
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, we acted with urgency to address the safety of our employees while continuing to support the business continuity needs of our customers and partners. We transitioned to a remote workforce model during the first quarter of fiscal 2021 and since then, have created flexible work and customer outreach experiences that have enabled our teams to remain connected with each other and with our customers while maintaining and enhancing productivity, operational excellence and innovation. We provided additional benefits to employees including a wellbeing allowance, pandemic time off, home equipment allowance and coverage of COVID-19 testing and treatment.
Future of Work
Going forward, we plan to continue building a dynamic, global workforce of the future that empowers our people to work from any location, consistent with business requirements, that accelerates their productivity to deliver innovative solutions and operational excellence for our customers worldwide. We believe our approach to employee flexibility will enable the Company to hire skilled and talented team members from many new locations globally and contribute to meeting our diversity, equity and inclusion goals. While planning for the initiative was well underway before the emergence of COVID-19, the pandemic accelerated our efforts. As our employees demonstrated throughout the pandemic, work location does not dictate success. The choice and flexibility that form the cornerstones of this new distributed workforce model mirror the choice and flexibility we provide to our customers when choosing their digital infrastructure.
Compensation and Benefits
We tailor our compensation programs including base pay strategy, variable compensation programs and health, wellbeing, and retirement programs to meet the needs of our employees. Equity awards are a key compensation component that enables us to recruit and retain top talent. The Compensation and Corporate Governance Committee of the VMware Board oversees the utilization of stock-based compensation to appropriately balance competitive needs against the dilutive impact on our
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stockholders. These components of total compensation are part of a broader framework of employee recognition, as well as our strategy to reinforce VMware’s culture, and to attract, develop, and retain a talented and diverse workforce.
Wellbeing and Culture
The VMware culture is based on a set of shared values best expressed through the acronym EPIC2: Execution, Passion, Integrity, Customers, and Community. Each year, we honor extraordinary employees through our EPIC2 Achievement Awards program. Individuals are recognized for their ability to regularly go above and beyond the Company’s high standards and for demonstrating a remarkable quality of character. Their dedication to projects, customers, and fellow team members represents great leadership—people who can inspire and motivate, especially during times of transformation and change.
We recognize that total wellbeing for our employees goes beyond physical fitness encompassing emotional, financial and community in defining overall health. In fiscal 2021, we expanded our wellbeing allowance to include all employees worldwide. During fiscal 2021, we were recognized by Forbes’ 2020 JUST 100 List and Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)
DEI is a business priority at VMware. Our DEI initiative, VMinclusion, is a business-led effort to attract and engage the multinational, multicultural talent critical to our globally connected business. We are committed to creating a flexible, inclusive environment where everyone is respected and has equal opportunity to succeed. During fiscal 2021, all Senior Directors and above were assigned responsibility for achievement of company-wide DEI goals tied to bonus compensation. We carefully monitor the impact of our practices on the hiring and retention of talent from underrepresented communities, women, people with disabilities, veterans and those that identify as being part of LGBTQ communities. In fiscal 2021 we focused on our Black colleagues and their communities through executive level engagement to drive positive change that is systemic and long term.
We have been recognized for our achievements including Forbes 2020 The Best Employers for Diversity, Forbes 2020 The Best Employers for Women, and the 2020 Human Rights Campaign Foundation Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality.
As of the end of fiscal 2021, women represented 27.1% of our global employees and underrepresented minorities represented 10.4% of our U.S. employees.
We are committed to equitable compensation. We know that leveraging the power of human difference starts with equal pay for equal work. We continually analyze compensation globally, accounting for multiple factors that influence pay such as job, grade, tenure, time in job, geographic location and performance. Our most recent data analysis as of November 2020 shows that at VMware, women, in the aggregate, adjusting for the factors identified above, earn 99% of their male counterparts' target cash compensation globally and underrepresented minorities earn 100% of their white counterparts in the U.S.
Available Information
Our website is located at www.vmware.com, and our investor relations website is located at http://ir.vmware.com. Our goal is to maintain the investor relations website as a portal through which investors can easily find or navigate to pertinent information about us, all of which is made available free of charge, including:
our Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, and any amendments to those reports, as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file that material with or furnish it to the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”);
announcements of investor conferences, speeches and events at which our executives discuss our products, services and competitive strategies;
webcasts of our quarterly earnings calls and links to webcasts of investor conferences at which our executives appear (archives of these events are also available for a limited time);
additional information on financial metrics, including reconciliations of non-GAAP financial measures discussed in our presentations to the nearest comparable GAAP measure;
press releases on quarterly earnings, product and service announcements, legal developments and international news;
corporate governance information including our certificate of incorporation, bylaws, corporate governance guidelines, board committee charters, business conduct guidelines (which constitutes our code of business conduct and ethics) and other governance-related policies;
other news, blogs and announcements that we may post from time to time that investors might find useful or interesting; and
opportunities to sign up for email alerts and RSS feeds to have information pushed in real time.
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The information found on our website is not part of, and is not incorporated by reference into, this or any other report we file with, or furnish to, the SEC. The SEC also maintains a website at www.sec.gov that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC.
INFORMATION ABOUT OUR EXECUTIVE OFFICERS
The names of our executive officers and their ages as of March 16, 2021, are as follows:
Name Age Position(s)
Zane Rowe 50 Chief Financial Officer, Interim Chief Executive Officer and Executive Vice President
Jean-Pierre Brulard 62 Executive Vice President, Worldwide Sales
Amy Fliegelman Olli 64 Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary
Sanjay Poonen 51 Chief Operating Officer, Customer Operations
Rangarajan (Raghu) Raghuram 58 Chief Operating Officer, Products and Cloud Services
Zane Rowe has served as VMware’s interim Chief Executive Officer since February 13, 2021, and also continues to serve as VMware’s Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President, a position he has held since March 1, 2016. Prior to joining VMware, he was EMC’s Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer from October 2014 until February 2016. Prior to joining EMC, Mr. Rowe was Vice President of North American Sales of Apple Inc., a technology company that designs, develops, and sells consumer electronics, computer software, online services, and personal computers, from May 2012 until May 2014. He was Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of United Continental Holdings, Inc., an airline holdings company, from October 2010 until April 2012 and was Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Continental Airlines from August 2008 to September 2010. Mr. Rowe joined Continental Airlines in 1993. Mr. Rowe currently serves on the board of Sabre Corporation.
Jean-Pierre Brulard has served as VMware’s Executive Vice President, Worldwide Sales since February 2020. Mr. Brulard previously served as VMware’s Senior Vice President and General Manager, EMEA from April 2015 to January 2020 and as Vice President, EMEA, Southern Region from April 2009 to April 2015. Prior to joining VMware, Mr. Brulard served in senior management positions of increasing responsibility for Business Objects, an enterprise software company, for seven years, most recently as its Senior Vice President and General Manager, EMEA.
Amy Fliegelman Olli has served as VMware’s Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary since December 2020. She joined VMware as Senior Vice President and General Counsel in August 2017 and was appointed as Secretary in October 2017. Prior to joining VMware, Ms. Fliegelman Olli served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Avaya, Inc., a provider of contact center, unified communications and networking products, from June 2014 through August 2017. Previously, she was the General Counsel of CA, Inc., a provider of software solutions, from September 2006 to June 2014 where her responsibilities covered all legal, governance, compliance, internal audit, security, risk management and controls matters. Ms. Fliegelman Olli also spent 18 years with IBM Corporation, ultimately serving as Vice President and General Counsel for the Americas and Europe.
Sanjay Poonen has served as VMware’s Chief Operating Officer, Customer Operations since October 2016. Prior to that he served as Executive Vice President and General Manager, End-User Computing, Head of Global Marketing from April 2016 to October 2016. He joined VMware as Executive Vice President and General Manager, End-User Computing in August 2013. Prior to joining VMware, he spent more than seven years at SAP AG, an enterprise application software and services company, serving as President and Corporate Officer of Platform Solutions and the Mobile Division from April 2012 to July 2013, prior to that as President of Global Solutions from November 2010 to March 2012, as Executive Vice President of Performance Optimization Apps from June 2008 to September 2009 and Senior Vice President of Analytics from April 2006 to May 2008. Mr. Poonen's over 20 years of technology industry experience also included executive-level positions with Symantec and Veritas, and product management and engineering positions with Alphablox Corporation, Apple, Inc. and Microsoft Corporation.
Rangarajan (Raghu) Raghuram has served as VMware's Chief Operating Officer, Products and Cloud Services since October 2016. Prior to that he served as Executive Vice President, Software-Defined Data Center Division from April 2012 to October 2016. Mr. Raghuram joined VMware in 2003 and has held multiple product management and marketing roles. Mr. Raghuram served as Senior Vice President and General Manager, Cloud Infrastructure and Management, Virtualization and Cloud Platforms, and Enterprise Products, from December 2009 through March 2012. Mr. Raghuram previously served as Vice President of VMware's Server Business Unit and of Product and Solutions Marketing from September 2003 through December 2009. Prior to VMware, Mr. Raghuram held product management and marketing roles at Netscape Communications Corporation and Bang Networks, Inc.
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ITEM 1A.    RISK FACTORS
The risk factors that appear below could materially affect our business, financial condition and operating results. The risks and uncertainties described below are not the only risks and uncertainties we face. Our business is also subject to general risks and uncertainties that affect many other companies. Specific risk factors related to our status as a controlled subsidiary of Dell Technologies Inc. (“Dell”) including uncertainty with respect to Dell’s exploration of potential alternatives with respect to its ownership interest in us such as a spin-off that could involve a special cash dividend, overlapping business opportunities, Dell’s ability to control certain transactions and resource allocations and related persons transactions with Dell and its other affiliated companies are set forth below under the heading “Risks Related to Our Relationship with Dell.”
Operation of Business and Strategic Risks
A significant decrease in demand for our server virtualization products would adversely affect our operating results.
A significant portion of our revenue is derived, and will for the foreseeable future continue to be derived, from our server virtualization products. As more businesses achieve high levels of virtualization in their data centers, the market for our vSphere product continues to mature. Additionally, as businesses increasingly utilize public cloud and SaaS-based offerings, they are building more of their new compute workloads off-premises and are increasingly shifting some of their existing and many of their new workloads to public cloud providers, thereby limiting growth, and potentially reducing the market for on-premises deployments of vSphere. Although sales of vSphere have declined as a portion of our overall business, and we expect this trend to continue, vSphere remains key to our future growth as it serves as the foundation for our newer SDDC, network virtualization and our newer subscription and SaaS offerings. Although we have launched, and are continuing to develop, products to extend our vSphere-based SDDC offerings to the public cloud, due to our product concentration, a significant decrease in demand for our server virtualization products would adversely affect our operating results.
Our subscription and SaaS offerings, which constitute a growing portion of our business, and our initiatives to extend our data center virtualization and container platforms into the public cloud, involve various risks, including, among others, reliance on third-party providers for data center space and colocation services and on public cloud providers to prevent service disruptions.
As we continue to develop and offer subscription and SaaS versions of our products, we must continue to evolve our processes to meet various intellectual property, regulatory, contractual and service compliance challenges, including compliance with licenses for open source and third-party software embedded in our offerings, compliance with export control and privacy regulations, protecting our services from external threats or inappropriate use, maintaining the continuous service levels and data security expected by our customers and adapting our go-to-market efforts. The expansion of our subscription and SaaS offerings also requires significant investments, and our operating margins, results of operations and operating cash flows may be adversely affected if our new offerings are not widely adopted by customers.
Additionally, our subscription and SaaS offerings rely upon third-party providers to supply data center space, equipment maintenance and other colocation services and our initiatives to extend our virtualization and container platforms into the public cloud rely upon the ability of our public cloud and VCPP partners to maintain continuous service availability and protect customer data on their services. Although we have entered into various agreements for the lease of data center space, equipment maintenance and other services, third parties could fail to live up to their contractual obligations. The failure of a third-party provider to prevent service disruptions, data losses or security breaches may require us to issue credits or refunds or indemnify or otherwise be liable to customers or third parties for damages that may occur, and contractual provisions with our third-party providers and public cloud partners may limit our recourse against the third-party provider or public cloud partner responsible for such failure. Additionally, if these third-party providers fail to deliver on their obligations, our reputation could be damaged, our customers could lose confidence in us, and our ability to maintain and expand our subscription and SaaS offerings would be impaired.
Our success depends upon our ability to adapt our business and pricing models to a subscription and SaaS model appropriately.
Certain of our product initiatives, such as our VCPP and SaaS offerings, have a subscription model. As we increase our adoption of subscription-based pricing models for our products, we may fail to set pricing at levels appropriate to maintain our revenue streams or our customers may choose to deploy products from our competitors that they believe are priced more favorably. In addition, we may fail to accurately predict subscription renewal rates or their impact on operating results, and because revenue from subscriptions is recognized for our services over the term of the subscription, downturns or upturns in sales may not be immediately reflected in our results. Additionally, as customers transition to our subscription and SaaS products and services, our revenue and license revenue growth rate may be adversely impacted during the period of transition as we will recognize less revenue up front than we would otherwise recognize as part of the multi-year license contracts through which we typically sell our established offerings. For example, effective with the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020, we commenced reporting revenue from our subscription and SaaS as a separate revenue line item, breaking out components that had previously
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been included in our license revenue and services revenue and prior period amounts were reclassified to conform with this presentation. As a result, the rate of growth in our license revenue, which has been viewed as a leading indicator of our business performance may appear to be negatively impacted while the growth in subscription and SaaS revenue may not appear as robust because such revenue is recognized ratably over time as customers consume our subscription-based products. Finally, as we offer more services that depend on converting users of free services to users of premium services and purchasers of our on-premises products to our SaaS offerings, our ability to maintain or improve and to predict conversion rates will become more important.
We face intense competition that could adversely affect our operating results.
The virtualization, container, cloud computing, end-user computing, security and software-defined data center industries are interrelated and rapidly evolving, and we face intense competition across all the markets for our products and services. Many of our current or potential competitors have longer operating histories, greater name recognition, larger customer bases and significantly greater financial, technical, sales, marketing and other resources than we do. Additionally, the adoption of public cloud, micro-services, containers, and open source technologies has the potential to erode our profitability.
We face competition from, among others:
Providers of public cloud infrastructure and SaaS-based offerings. As businesses increasingly utilize public cloud and SaaS-based offerings, they are building more of their new compute workloads off-premises and may also shift some of their existing workloads. As a result, the demand for on-premises information technology (“IT”) resources is expected to slow, and our products and services will need to increasingly compete for customers’ IT workloads with off-premises public cloud and SaaS-based offerings. If our private, hybrid and multi-cloud products and services fail to address evolving customer requirements, the demand for VMware’s virtualization products and services may decline, and we could experience lower growth. Additionally, VMware Cloud Provider Program (“VCPP”) offerings from our partners may compete directly with infrastructure-as-a-service (“IaaS”) offerings from various public cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services (“AWS”) and Microsoft. Many of these cloud providers are partnering with on-premises hardware vendors to deliver their cloud platform as an on-premises solution, including AWS Outposts and Azure Stack. In fiscal 2018, we entered into a strategic alliance with AWS to deliver a vSphere-based cloud service, VMware Cloud on AWS, running in AWS data centers available in certain geographies. In fiscal 2020, we also announced partnerships with Microsoft (Azure VMware Solution by CloudSimple), Google (Google Cloud VMware Solution by CloudSimple), and Oracle (Oracle Cloud VMware Solution) under the framework of our VCPP that enable customers to run native VMware-based workloads on Azure, Google Cloud, and Oracle Cloud. Our partnerships with these public cloud providers may be seen as competitive with each other, with other VCPP partners and with AWS, while some partners may elect to include solutions such as VMware Cloud on AWS as part of their managed services provider offerings. In addition, in November 2018, when AWS announced AWS Outposts, we extended our collaboration with AWS by previewing offerings that will run on AWS Outposts, currently available to try as part of the VMware Cloud on AWS Outposts Beta program. To the extent customers choose to operate native AWS environments (or similar non-VMware environments, such as Azure Stack) in their data centers in lieu of purchasing VMware’s on-premises and hybrid and multi-cloud products, our operating results could be materially adversely affected.
Providers of enterprise security offerings. With the close of VMware’s acquisition of Carbon Black in October 2019, we launched a new set of enterprise security solutions that includes the Carbon Black endpoint security platform and the intrinsic security elements of our existing NSX virtual networking, Workspace ONE end user and our compute offerings. The cybersecurity market is large, highly competitive, fragmented and subject to rapidly evolving technology, shifting customer needs and the frequent introductions of new solutions. Competitors in the end point security space include legacy antivirus solution providers such as McAfee and NortonLifeLock, established software and infrastructure providers such as Blackberry Limited (after purchasing Cylance, Inc.) and Microsoft as well as next-generation endpoint security providers such as CrowdStrike. In addition, new startup companies and established companies have entered or are currently attempting to enter the next-generation endpoint security market. While we believe that the intrinsic security elements in our existing offerings coupled with our Carbon Black endpoint security offerings and new combined offerings we expect to develop and introduce in the future will enable us to provide an integrated security offering with significant advantages over our competitors’ current offerings, our ability to gain traction and market share as a new entrant into this well-established market segment is uncertain New trends, such as Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) and Zero Trust Network Access, represent the coalescence of formerly distinct markets, such as identity management, secure web gateway, SD-WAN, network firewall, and cloud access security brokers. These trends may bring existing partners such as Zscaler and Okta into a more competitive position with Carbon Black, VeloCloud and other distributed network security offerings from VMware. If we are unable to successfully adapt our product and service offerings to meet these opportunities and rapidly evolving trends our operating results could be adversely affected.
Large, diversified enterprise software and hardware companies. These competitors supply a wide variety of products and services to, and have well-established relationships with, our current and prospective end users. For example, small- to medium-sized businesses and companies in emerging markets that are evaluating the adoption of virtualization-based
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technologies and solutions may be inclined to consider Microsoft solutions because of their existing use of Windows and Office products. Some of these competitors have in the past and may in the future take advantage of their existing relationships to engage in business practices that make our products and services less attractive or more expensive to our end users. For example, in August 2019, Microsoft modified its on-premises licensing terms to require end users who wish to deploy Microsoft software on certain dedicated hosted cloud services other than Microsoft’s Azure cloud service, including VMware Cloud on AWS, to purchase additional rights from Microsoft. Other competitors have limited or denied support for their applications running in VMware virtualization environments. In addition, these competitors could integrate competitive capabilities into their existing products and services and make them available without additional charge. For example, Oracle provides free server virtualization software intended to support Oracle and non-Oracle applications, Microsoft offers its own server, network, and storage virtualization software packaged with its Windows Server product as well as built-in virtualization in the client version of Windows and Cisco includes network virtualization technology in many of their data center networking platforms. As a result, existing and prospective VMware customers may elect to use products that are perceived to be “free” or “very low cost” instead of purchasing VMware products and services for certain applications where they do not believe that more advanced and robust capabilities are required.
Companies offering competing platforms based on open source technologies. Open source technologies for virtualization, containerization and cloud platforms, such as Xen, KVM, Docker, rkt, OpenShift, Mesos, Kubernetes and OpenStack, and other open source software-based products, solutions and services developed by enterprise IT vendors that target data center virtualization and private cloud, such as Red Hat (now a part of IBM) and Nutanix, may reduce the demand for our solutions, put pricing pressure on our offerings and enable competing vendors to leverage open source technologies to compete directly with us. In addition, one of the characteristics of open source software is that, subject to specified restrictions, anyone may modify and redistribute existing open source software and use it to compete in the marketplace. Such competition can develop with a smaller degree of overhead and lead time than traditional proprietary software companies require. New platform technologies and standards based on open source software are consistently being developed and can gain popularity quickly. Improvements in open source software could cause customers to replace software purchased from us with open-source software. VMware is delivering container technologies and Cloud Native Application technologies portfolio with VMware Tanzu. We have also increased our level of commitment to open source projects and communities like the Cloud Native Computing Foundation that are designed to increase the rate at which customers adopt micro-services architectures. The adoption of distributed micro-service application architectures, and their alignment with container technologies, represents an emerging area of competition. As we continue to invest in these areas, we will experience increasing competitive overlap with other cloud native vendors like Red Hat and the large providers of public cloud infrastructure. Such competitive pressure or the availability of new open source software may result in reduced sales, increasing pricing pressure, increased sales and marketing expenses and lower operating margins, any one of which may adversely affect our operating results.
Other industry alliances. Many of our competitors have entered into or extended partnerships or other strategic relationships to offer more comprehensive virtualization and cloud computing solutions than they individually had offered. We expect these trends to continue as companies attempt to strengthen or maintain their positions in the evolving virtualization infrastructure and enterprise IT solutions industry. These alliances may result in more compelling product and service offerings than we offer.
Our partners and members of our developer and technology partner ecosystem. We face competition from our partners. For example, third parties currently selling our products and services could build and market their own competing products and services or market competing products and services of other vendors. Additionally, as formerly distinct sectors of enterprise IT such as software-based virtualization and hardware-based server, networking and storage solutions converge, we also increasingly compete with companies who are members of our developer and technology partner ecosystem. For example, in July 2019, one of our important partners and customers, IBM, closed its acquisition of Red Hat, one of our competitors in the cloud native applications space. Consequently, we may find it more difficult to continue to work together productively on other projects, and the advantages we derive from our ecosystem could diminish.
This competition could result in increased pricing pressure and sales and marketing expenses, thereby materially reducing our operating margins, and could also prevent our new products and services from gaining market acceptance, thereby harming our ability to increase, or causing us to lose, market share.
Our success depends increasingly on customer acceptance of our newer products and services.
Our products and services are primarily based on server virtualization and related compute technologies used for virtualizing on-premises data center servers, which form the foundation for private cloud computing. As the market for server virtualization continues to mature, the rate of growth in license sales of VMware vSphere (“vSphere”) has declined. We are increasingly directing our product development and marketing efforts toward products and services that enable businesses to utilize virtualization as the foundation for private, public, hybrid and multi-cloud-based computing and mobile computing, including our vSphere-based SDDC products such as vRealize management, vSAN storage virtualization, NSX virtual networking, as well as our Horizon client virtualization, Unified Endpoint Management mobile device management, and our
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managed subscription services, such as VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud on AWS Outposts and our VMware Cloud on Dell EMC. In October 2019, we completed the acquisition of Carbon Black, Inc. (“Carbon Black”), which now forms the nucleus of VMware’s new set of enterprise security solutions focused on helping to provide advanced cybersecurity protection to customers. We have also been introducing SaaS versions of our on-premises products, including VMware Workspace ONE (“Workspace ONE”) offerings, and investing in a range of SaaS and cloud-native technologies and products, including those acquired through our Heptio Inc., CloudHealth Technologies, Inc., VeloCloud Networks, Inc. and Pivotal Software, Inc. (“Pivotal”) acquisitions. These cloud and SaaS initiatives present new and difficult technological, operational and compliance challenges, and significant investments continue to be required to develop or acquire solutions to address those challenges. Our success depends on our current and future customers perceiving technological and operational benefits and cost savings associated with adopting our private, public, hybrid and multi-cloud solutions and our client virtualization and mobile device management solutions. As the market for our server virtualization products continues to mature, and the scale of our business continues to increase, our rate of revenue growth increasingly depends upon the success of our newer product and service offerings. To the extent that adoption rates for our newer products and services are not sufficient to offset declines in revenue growth for our established server virtualization offerings, our overall revenue growth rates may slow materially or our revenue may decline substantially. Additionally, we may fail to realize returns on our investments in new initiatives and our operating results could be materially adversely affected.
Competition for our highly skilled employees is intense and costly, and our business and growth prospects may suffer if we cannot attract and retain them.
We must continue to attract and retain highly qualified personnel, particularly software and cloud engineers and sales and customer experience personnel, for which competition, particularly against companies with greater resources, startups and emerging growth companies is intense. Research and development personnel are also aggressively recruited by startup and emerging growth companies, which are especially active in many of the technical areas and geographic regions in which we conduct product and service development. This competition results in increased costs in the form of cash and stock-based compensation and can have a dilutive impact on our stock. We have experienced, and we expect to continue to experience, difficulty in hiring and retaining highly skilled employees with appropriate qualifications, and, if we fail to attract new personnel or fail to retain and motivate our current personnel, our business and future growth prospects could suffer.
The loss of key management personnel could harm our business.
We depend on the continued services of key management personnel. We generally do not have employment or non-compete agreements with our employees, and, therefore, they could terminate their employment with us at any time without penalty and could pursue employment opportunities with any of our competitors. In addition, we do not maintain any key-person life insurance policies. The loss of key management personnel could harm our business.
Our current research and development efforts may not produce significant revenue for several years, if at all.
Developing our products and services is expensive, and developing and launching disruptive technologies requires significant investment often entailing greater risk than incremental investments in existing products and services. Our research and development expenses were approximately 24% of our total revenue during the year ended January 29, 2021. We plan to continue to significantly invest in our research and development efforts to maintain our competitive position. Our investments in research and development may result in products or services that generate less revenue than we anticipate or may not result in marketable products and services for several years or at all.
Acquisitions and divestitures could materially harm our business and operating results.
We have acquired in the past, and plan to acquire in the future, other businesses, products or technologies. We also sell or divest businesses, products and technologies from time-to-time. Acquisitions and divestitures involve significant risks and uncertainties, including:
disruptions to our ongoing operations and diverting management from day-to-day responsibilities due to, for example, the need to provide transition services in connection with a disposition or difficulty integrating the operations, technologies, products, customers and personnel of acquired businesses effectively;
adverse impacts to our business and financial results resulting from increases to our expenses due to, among other things, integrating business operations and on-boarding personnel and the incurrence of amortization expense related to identifiable intangible assets acquired and other accounting consequences of acquisitions;
reductions to our cash available for operations, stock repurchase programs and other uses, potentially dilutive issuances of equity securities or the incurrence of additional debt;
uncertainties in achieving the expected benefits of an acquisition or disposition, including with respect to our business strategy, revenue, technology, human resources, cost and operating efficiencies and other synergies, due to, among
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other things, a lack of experience in new markets, products or technologies; or an initial dependence on unfamiliar distribution partners or vendors;
unidentified issues that were not discovered during the diligence process, including issues with the acquired or divested business’s intellectual property, product quality, security, privacy and accounting practices, regulatory compliance or legal contingencies;
lawsuits resulting from an acquisition or disposition;
maintenance or establishment of acceptable standards, controls, procedures or policies with respect to an acquired business; and
the need to later divest acquired assets at a loss if an acquisition does not meet our expectations.
Disruptions to our distribution channels, including our various routes to market through Dell, could harm our business.
Our future success is highly dependent on our relationships with channel partners, including distributors, resellers, system vendors and systems integrators, which contribute to a significant portion of our revenue. Recruiting and retaining qualified channel partners and training them in the use of our technology and product offerings requires significant time and resources. Our failure to maintain good relationships with channel partners would likely lead to a loss of end users of our products and services, which would adversely affect our revenue. We generally do not have long-term contracts or minimum purchase commitments with our channel partners, and the contracts that we do have with these channel partners do not prohibit them from offering products or services that compete with ours.
One of our distributors accounted for 10% or more of our consolidated revenue during the year ended January 29, 2021. Although we believe that we have in place, or would have in place by the date of any such termination, agreements with replacement distributors sufficient to maintain our revenue from distribution, if we were to lose the distribution services of a significant distributor, such loss could have a negative impact on our operating results until such time as we arrange to replace these distribution services with the services of existing or new distributors.
Additionally, sales via our various route-to-market relationships with Dell accounted for 35% of our consolidated revenue during the year ended January 29, 2021 and transactions where Dell acted as an original equipment manufacturer (“OEM”) accounted for 12% of the revenue from Dell, or 4% of our consolidated revenue. Such routes to market include Dell selling joint solutions as an OEM, acting as a distributor to other non-Dell resellers, reselling products and services as a reseller or purchasing products and services for its own internal use. Any disruption or significant change to our relationship with Dell or the terms upon which they sell and distribute our products and services could have a negative impact on our operating results until such time as we arrange to replace these distribution services with the services of existing or new distributors.
The evolution of our business requires more complex go-to-market strategies, which involve significant risk.
Our increasing focus on developing and marketing IT management and automation and IaaS offerings (including software-defined networking, VCPP-integrated virtual desktop and mobile device, cloud and SaaS) that enable customers to transform their IT systems requires a greater focus on marketing and selling product suites and more holistic solutions, rather than selling on a product-by-product basis. Consequently, we have developed, and must continue to develop, new strategies for marketing and selling our offerings. In addition, marketing and selling new technologies to enterprises requires us to invest significant time and resources to educate customers on the benefits of our offerings. These investments can be costly and educating our sales force can distract from their efforts to sell existing products and services. Additionally, from time to time, we reorganize our go-to-market teams to increase efficiencies and improve customer coverage, but these reorganizations can cause short-term disruptions that may negatively impact sales over one or more fiscal periods. Further, upon entering into new industry segments, we may choose to go to market with third-party manufactured hardware appliances that are integrated with our software—as we did when we entered into the SD-WAN space through our acquisitions of VeloCloud Networks, Inc. and Nyansa, Inc.—which requires us to rapidly develop, deploy and scale new hardware procurement, supply chain and inventory management processes and product support services and integrate them into our ongoing business systems and controls. Similarly, our launches of managed subscription services, such as VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud on Dell EMC, require us to implement new methods to deliver and monitor end user services and adjust our model for releasing product upgrades. As our customers increasingly shift from one-time purchases of perpetual software licenses to purchasing our software via more subscription and SaaS-based programs, our go-to-market teams will need to alter their outreach to customers to support ongoing consumption of our offerings, and we will need to appropriately adjust the variable compensation programs we use to incentivize our sales teams. If we fail to successfully adjust, develop and implement effective go-to-market strategies, our financial results may be materially adversely impacted.
We may not be able to respond to rapid technological changes with new solutions and services offerings.
The industries in which we compete are characterized by rapid, complex and disruptive changes in technology, customer demands and industry standards that could make it difficult for us to effectively compete and cause our existing and future
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software solutions to become obsolete and unmarketable. Our ability to react quickly to new technology trends—such as cloud computing, which is disrupting the ways businesses consume, manage and provide physical IT resources, applications, data and IT services—and customer requirements is negatively impacted by the length of our development cycle for new and enhanced products and services, which has frequently been longer than we originally anticipated. This is due in part to the increasing complexity of our product offerings as we increase their interoperability and maintain their compatibility with IT resources, such as public clouds, utilized by our customers while sustaining and enhancing product quality. When we release significant new versions of our existing offerings, the complexity of our products may require existing customers to remove and replace prior versions to take full advantage of substantial new capabilities, which may subdue initial demand for the new versions or depress demand for existing versions until the customer is ready to purchase and install the newest release. If we are unable to evolve our solutions and offerings in time to respond to and remain ahead of new technological developments—in applications, networking or security, for example—or in ways that are compelling to customers, our ability to retain or increase market share and revenue could be materially adversely affected. We may also fail to adequately anticipate the commercialization of emerging technologies, such as blockchain, and the development of new markets and applications for our technology, such as edge computing, and thereby fail to take advantage of new market opportunities or fall behind early movers in those markets.
We operate a global business that exposes us to additional risks.
A significant portion of our employees, customers and channel partners are located outside the U.S. Our international activities account for a substantial portion of our revenue and profits, and our investment portfolio includes investments in non-U.S. financial instruments and holdings in non-U.S. financial institutions. In addition to the risks described elsewhere in these risk factors, our international operations subject us to a variety of risks, including:
difficulties in delivering support, training and documentation; enforcing contracts; collecting accounts receivable; transferring funds; maintaining appropriate controls relating to revenue recognition practices; and longer payment cycles in certain countries and especially in emerging markets;
network security and privacy concerns, which could make foreign customers reluctant to purchase products and services from U.S.-based technology companies;
tariffs and trade barriers, and other regulatory or contractual limitations on our ability to sell or develop our products and services in certain foreign markets, such as in China, whose government has adopted a range of laws and regulations relating to the procurement of key network equipment and security products and the storage and processing of data that might cause our business in China to suffer and expose us to civil and criminal penalties;
economic or political instability and uncertainty about or changes in government and trade relationships, policies, and treaties that could adversely affect the ability of U.S.-based companies to conduct business in non-U.S. markets, such as in the U.K. where considerable regulatory uncertainty remains regarding compliance post-Brexit; and
legal risks, particularly in emerging markets, relating to compliance with U.S. exchange control requirements and international and U.S. anti-corruption laws and associated exposure to significant fines, penalties and reputational harm.
Our failure to manage any of these risks successfully could negatively affect our reputation and materially adversely affect our operating results.
Our success depends on the interoperability of our products and services with those of other companies.
The success of our products depends upon the cooperation of hardware and software vendors to ensure interoperability with our products and offer compatible products and services to end users. In addition, we extend the functionality of various products to work with native public cloud applications, which in some cases requires the cooperation of public cloud vendors. To the extent that hardware, software and public cloud vendors perceive that their products and services compete with ours or those of our controlling stockholder, Dell, they may have an incentive to withhold their cooperation, decline to share access or sell to us their proprietary APIs, protocols or formats, or engage in practices to actively limit the functionality, compatibility and certification of our products. In addition, vendors may fail to certify or support or continue to certify or support our products for their systems. If any of the foregoing occurs, our product development efforts may be delayed or foreclosed and it may be difficult and more costly for us to achieve functionality and service levels that would make our services attractive to end users, any of which could negatively impact our business and operating results.
Failure to effectively manage our product and service lifecycles could harm our business.
As part of the natural lifecycle of our products and services, we periodically inform customers that products or services will be reaching their end of life or end of availability and will no longer be supported or receive updates and security patches. To the extent these products or services remain subject to a service contract with the customer, we offer to transition the customer to alternative products or services. Failure to effectively manage our product and service lifecycles could lead to customer dissatisfaction and contractual liabilities, which could adversely affect our business and operating results.
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Financial Risks
Our operating results may fluctuate significantly.
Our operating results may fluctuate due to a variety of factors, many of which are outside of our control. As a result, comparing our operating results on a period-to-period basis may not be meaningful, and our past results should not be relied upon as an indication of our future performance. In addition, a significant portion of our quarterly sales typically occurs during the last two weeks of the quarter, which generally reflects customer buying patterns for enterprise technology. As a result, our quarterly operating results are difficult to predict even in the near term. If our revenue or operating results fall below the expectations of investors or securities analysts or below any guidance we may provide to the market, the price of our Class A common stock would likely decline substantially.
Factors that may cause fluctuations in our operating results include, among others, the factors described elsewhere in this risk factors section and the following:
fluctuations in demand, adoption and renewal rates, sales cycles and pricing levels for our products and services;
variations in customer choices among our on-premises and subscription and SaaS offerings, which can impact our rates of total revenue and license revenue growth;
the timing of announcements or releases of new or upgraded products and services by us, our partners or competitors;
the timing of sales orders processing, which can cause fluctuations in our backlog and impact our bookings and timing of revenue recognition;
our ability to maintain scalable internal systems for reporting, order processing, license fulfillment, product delivery, purchasing, billing and general accounting, among other functions;
our ability to control costs, including our operating expenses, and the timing and amount of internal use software development costs that may be capitalized;
the credit risks associated with our distributors, who account for a significant portion of our product revenue and accounts receivable, and our customers;
the timing and size of realignment plans and restructuring charges;
seasonal factors such as end of fiscal period expenditures by our customers and the timing of holiday and vacation periods;
unplanned events that could affect market perception of the quality or cost-effectiveness of our products and solutions; and
fluctuations in the severity and duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting restrictions on business activity which may vary significantly by region.
Adverse economic conditions may harm our business.
Our business success depends in part on worldwide economic conditions. The overall demand for and spend on IT may be viewed by our current and prospective customers as discretionary and, in times of economic uncertainty, customers may delay, decrease, reduce the value and duration, or cancel purchases and upgrades of our products and services. Weak economic conditions or significant uncertainty regarding the stability of financial markets related to stock market volatility, inflation, recession, changes in tariffs, trade agreements or governmental fiscal, monetary and tax policies, among others, could adversely impact our business, financial condition and operating results. General and ongoing tightening in the credit market, lower levels of liquidity, increases in rates of default and bankruptcy and significant volatility in equity and fixed-income markets could all negatively impact our customers’ purchasing decisions. Increases in interest rates on credit and debt that would increase the cost of our borrowing could impact our ability to access the capital markets and adversely affect our ability to repay or refinance our outstanding indebtedness, fund future product development and acquisitions or conduct stock buybacks.
For example, the COVID-19 pandemic has depressed economic activity worldwide, and the timing and strength of an economic recovery is highly uncertain and likely to vary significantly by region. While the COVID-19 pandemic has not had a material adverse financial impact on our operations to date, the future course of the pandemic and any resulting economic impact remain highly uncertain and continue to rapidly evolve. We have observed negative impacts on our sales and our financial results from the COVID-19 pandemic and there continues to be significant uncertainty regarding the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, during much of fiscal 2021, we saw delays in customers’ large transformative on-premises projects that we believe were largely due to COVID-19, which negatively impacted our product sales. Although pandemic conditions in most regions of the world began easing following the start of fiscal 2022, there remains considerable uncertainty regarding the progress of vaccination programs, the dangers posed by COVID-19 variants and when a return to pre-
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pandemic conditions can occur. Accordingly, should the pandemic persist for a long period of time, economic conditions globally or in particular regions may fail to recover or even worsen, which could cause material adverse impacts to our earnings and other results of operations. Additionally, concerns over the economic impact of COVID-19 have caused extreme volatility in financial and other capital markets, which has and may continue to adversely impact our stock price and our ability to access the equity or debt capital markets on attractive terms or at all for a period of time, which could have an adverse effect on our liquidity position.
Additionally, Brexit and trade tensions between the U.S. and its trading partners, like China, have caused and may continue to cause significant volatility in global financial markets. Amidst sustained economic uncertainty, many national and local governments that are current or prospective customers, including the U.S. federal government, may need to make significant changes in their spending priorities, which could reduce the amount of government spending on IT and the potential demand for our products and services from the government sector.
These adverse economic conditions can arise suddenly, have unpredictable impacts and materially adversely affect our future sales and operating results.
We have outstanding indebtedness in the form of unsecured notes and may incur other debt in the future, which may adversely affect our financial condition and future financial results.
We have $4.8 billion in unsecured notes outstanding, an additional unsecured promissory note with an outstanding principal amount of $270 million owed to Dell, and a $1.0 billion unsecured revolving credit facility (the “Credit Facility”), which was undrawn as of January 29, 2021. The terms of our unsecured notes and Credit Facility impose restrictions on us, including in specified and customary covenants, our compliance with which may be affected by events beyond our control, including prevailing economic, financial, and industry conditions. If we breach any of the covenants and do not obtain a waiver from the lenders or note holders, then, subject to applicable cure periods, any outstanding indebtedness may be declared immediately due and payable.
Additionally, in July 2020, Dell announced that it was exploring strategic alternatives with respect to its ownership interest in us, including a possible spin-off of its ownership interest to Dell stockholders, in connection with which it also expected to explore certain terms and conditions that could include negotiating a special cash dividend to be paid by VMware on a pro rata basis to all VMware stockholders that VMware would fund, in part, through the incurrence of additional indebtedness.
Our current and any future debt may adversely affect our financial condition and future financial results by, among other things, increasing our vulnerability to adverse changes in general economic and industry conditions, necessitating use or dedication of our expected cash flow from operations to service our indebtedness instead of for other purposes, such as capital expenditures and acquisitions, and limiting our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, business changes.
In addition, any actual or anticipated changes to our credit ratings, including any announcement that our credit ratings are under review by any rating agency, may:
negatively impact the value and liquidity of our debt and equity securities;
result in an increase in the interest rate payable by us and the cost of borrowing under our Credit Facility;
negatively affect the terms of and restrict our ability to obtain financing in the future; and
upon the occurrence of certain downgrades of the ratings of our unsecured notes, require us to repurchase our unsecured notes at a price equal to 101% of the aggregate principal plus any accrued and unpaid interest.
Additionally, our parent company, Dell, has a significant level of debt financing, and any negative changes to Dell’s credit rating could also negatively impact our credit rating and the value and liquidity of any future debt we might raise. Refer to “Liquidity and Capital Resources” in “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” in Part II, Item 7 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for more information on our outstanding indebtedness.
Our operating results may be adversely impacted by exposure to additional tax liabilities and higher than expected tax rates.
We are subject to income taxes as well as non-income-based taxes, such as payroll, sales and property taxes, in many of the jurisdictions in which we operate. Our tax liabilities are dependent on the allocation of revenue and expenses in different jurisdictions and the timing of recognizing revenue and expenses. Significant judgment is required to determine our worldwide provision for income taxes and other tax liabilities. For example, in the ordinary course of our global business, we execute intercompany transactions, including intellectual property transfers, that require us to make tax estimates because the ultimate tax determination is uncertain. We are subject to income and indirect tax examinations and are undergoing audits in various jurisdictions. For instance, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) has started its examination of fiscal years 2015 through 2019 for the Dell consolidated group, of which VMware was part beginning in Dell’s fiscal year 2017. While we believe we have complied with all applicable income tax laws and made reasonable tax estimates, a governing tax authority could have a
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different legal interpretation and a final determination of tax audits or disputes may differ from what is reflected in our historical income tax provisions or benefits and accruals and we may be assessed with additional taxes. In addition, regulatory guidance is still forthcoming with respect to the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“2017 Tax Act”) and such guidance may adversely impact our tax provision. Any assessment of additional taxes could materially affect our financial condition and operating results.
Our future effective tax rate may be affected by such factors as:
the expiration of legal statutes of limitation and settlements of audits;
the impact of accounting for stock-based compensation and for business combinations, such as our acquisition of Pivotal, which was accounted for as a common control transaction;
the recognition of excess tax benefits or deficiencies within the income tax provision or benefit in the period in which they occur;
the overall levels and proportion of our income before provision for income taxes earned in the U.S. and in jurisdictions with a tax rate lower than the U.S. statutory rate; and
changes in tax laws or their interpretations, in our business or statutory rates, and in our corporate structure.
For example, in October 2014, Ireland announced revisions to its tax regulations, that, among other things, would raise tax rates on the foreign earnings of our Ireland-organized subsidiary by which our non-U.S. earnings are primarily earned. For this and other reasons, we proactively made structural changes to mitigate the impact of the changing Irish tax regulations to our future tax rates. Numerous other countries have also recently enacted or are considering enacting changes to tax laws, administrative interpretations, decisions, policies and positions. These and any other significant changes to U.S., Irish or international tax laws could materially adversely affect our effective tax rate, the timing and amount of our tax liabilities and payments, our financial condition and operating results.
Security Risks
Cybersecurity breaches of our systems or the systems of our vendors, partners and suppliers could materially harm our business.
Cyber risks represent a large and growing risk to our business, as we depend upon our IT systems, proprietary software and services, as well as the systems of SaaS providers, to conduct virtually all of our business operations. Some of the factors that contribute to significant cyber risks include:
We increasingly develop and maintain large data sets and rely on machine learning, artificial intelligence and analytics to provide services to our customers and partners.
Customers conduct purchase and service transactions online, and we store increasing amounts of customer data and host or manage parts of customers’ businesses in cloud-based IT environments.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the rollout of our “Future of Work” program to work from anywhere, greater numbers of our employees work remotely, making them and us more vulnerable to cyber-attacks, including email phishing and social engineering.
We rely on third parties and their systems for a number of our business functions and to sell our products and services as distributors, resellers, system vendors and systems integrators.
Sophisticated hardware, software and applications that we produce or procure from third parties may contain defects that could unexpectedly interfere with our systems and processes.
Our leadership position in the enterprise security industry makes us and our products a target of computer hackers seeking to compromise product security.
Cyber-attacks, which are increasing in number and technical sophistication, threaten to misappropriate our proprietary information, cause interruptions of our IT services, extract financial gain and commit fraud. We may not be able to anticipate the techniques used in such attacks, as they change frequently and may not be recognized until launched. If unauthorized access or sabotage remains undetected for an extended period of time, the effects of any such breach could be exacerbated.
Unauthorized parties (which may have included nation states and individuals sponsored by them) have penetrated our network security and our website in the past and may do so in the future. Employees or contractors have introduced vulnerabilities in, and enabled the exploitation of, our IT environments in the past and may do so in the future. Additionally, we are increasingly targeted for financial gain and fraud by criminal persons and groups that seek to extort or steal funds from companies and employees. Accordingly, if our cybersecurity systems and those of our contractors, partners and vendors fail to protect against breaches, our ability to conduct our business could be damaged in a number of ways, including:
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sensitive data regarding our business, including intellectual property and other proprietary data, could be stolen;
our electronic communications systems, including email and other methods, could be disrupted, and our ability to conduct our business operations could be seriously damaged they are restored and secured;
our ability to process and electronically deliver customer orders could be degraded, and our distribution channels could be disrupted, resulting in delays in revenue recognition;
defects and security vulnerabilities could be exploited or introduced into our software products or our subscription and SaaS offerings and impair or disrupt them, thereby damaging the reputation and perceived reliability and security of our products and services and potentially making the data systems of our customers and partners vulnerable to further data loss and cyber incidents; and
personally identifiable information or confidential data of our customers, employees and business partners could be stolen or lost.
Should any of the above events occur, or are perceived to have occurred, we could be subject to significant claims for liability from our customers, partners, vendors, or employees (among others); we could face regulatory actions and sanctions from governmental agencies under privacy, data protection or other laws; our ability to protect our intellectual property rights could be compromised; our reputation and competitive position could be materially harmed; we could face material losses as the result of successful financial cyber-fraud schemes; and we could incur significant costs in order to upgrade our cybersecurity systems, remediate damages and defend the Company in any legal, regulatory or legislative proceedings. Consequently, our business, financial condition and operating results could be materially adversely affected.
Our products and services are highly technical and may contain or be subject to other suppliers’ errors, defects or security vulnerabilities.
Our products and services are highly technical and complex and, when deployed, have contained and may contain errors, defects or security vulnerabilities, some of which may only be discovered after a product or service has been installed and used by customers. Unanticipated vulnerabilities in user environments, installation errors or misuse can also lead to unintended access to or exploitation of our products. Accordingly, from time to time we have issued security alerts and provided software updates to customers when such issues have been identified. Undiscovered vulnerabilities in our products or services could expose our customers to hackers or other unscrupulous third parties who develop and deploy viruses, worms and other malicious software programs that could attack our products or services. Further, our use of open-source software in our offerings can make our products and services vulnerable to additional security risks not posed by proprietary products. In the past, VMware has been made aware of public postings by hackers of portions of our source code. It is possible that the released source code could expose unknown security vulnerabilities in our products and services that could be exploited by hackers or others. VMware products and services are also subject to known and unknown security vulnerabilities resulting from integration with products or services of other companies (such as applications, operating systems or semiconductors). Actual or perceived errors, defects or security vulnerabilities in our products or services could harm our reputation and lead some customers to return products or services, reduce or delay future purchases or use competitive products or services, all of which could materially negatively impact our business, operating results and stock price.
Problems with our information systems could interfere with our business and could adversely impact our operations.
We rely on our information systems and those of third parties for fulfilling contractual obligations, including processing customer orders, delivering products and providing services, performing accounting operations and otherwise running our business. If our systems fail, our disaster and data recovery planning and capacity may prove insufficient to enable timely recovery of important functions and business records. Additionally, our information systems may not efficiently support new business models and initiatives, and significant investments could be required in order to upgrade existing or implement new systems. Business requirements may require additional capabilities including implementation of a new information system. For example, during the first quarter of fiscal 2020 we implemented a new lease accounting software to facilitate the preparation of financial information related to the adoption of accounting standard updates. Further, we continuously work to enhance our information systems, such as our enterprise resource planning software, and the implementation of such enhancements is frequently disruptive to the underlying enterprise, which may especially be the case for us due to the size and complexity of our business, and may disrupt internal controls and business processes that could introduce unintended vulnerability to error. Any such disruption to our information systems and those of the third parties upon whom we rely could have a material impact on our business.
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Legal and Compliance Risks
We are involved in litigation, investigations and regulatory inquiries and proceedings that could negatively affect us.
As described in Note E (Litigation) to the consolidated financial statements in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, we are, and may become, involved in various legal and regulatory proceedings, and investigations relating to our business, including with respect to antitrust and competition, breach of contract, class action, commercial, corporate governance, cybersecurity, employment, intellectual property, privacy, securities, and whistleblower matters. Matters such as these may impact our business in different ways. Intellectual property infringement claims, for example, may seek injunctive relief or other court orders that could prevent us from offering our products. As a result, we might be required to seek a license for the use of such intellectual property, which may not be available on commercially reasonable terms or at all, or we may be required to develop non-infringing technology, which could require significant effort and expense and may ultimately not be successful. Because we generally indemnify our customers and partners from intellectual property infringement claims in connection with the use of our products, we may be called on to defend these customers and partners in litigation. From time to time, we also receive inquiries from and have discussions with government entities regarding our compliance with laws and regulations. Such litigation, investigations, regulatory inquiries, and proceedings can be unpredictable and time-consuming, divert management’s attention and resources, and cause us to incur significant expenses. Allegations made in connection with these matters may harm our reputation, regardless of their merit and could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition, cash flows or results of operations if decided adversely to or settled by us.
We may not be able to adequately protect our intellectual property rights.
We depend on our ability to protect our proprietary technology. We rely on trade secret, patent, copyright and trademark laws and confidentiality agreements with employees and third parties, all of which offer only limited protection. As such, despite our efforts, the steps we have taken to protect our proprietary rights may not be adequate to prevent misappropriation of our proprietary information or infringement of our intellectual property rights, and our ability to police such misappropriation or infringement is uncertain, particularly in countries outside of the U.S. In addition, we rely on confidentiality and license agreements with third parties in connection with their use of our products and technology. There is no guarantee that such parties will abide by the terms of such agreements or that we will be able to adequately enforce our rights, in part because we rely on “click-wrap” and “shrink-wrap” licenses in some instances.
Detecting and protecting against the unauthorized use of our products, technology proprietary rights and intellectual property rights is expensive, difficult, uncertain and, in some cases, impossible. Litigation is necessary from time to time to enforce or defend our intellectual property rights, to protect our trade secrets or to determine the validity and scope of the proprietary rights of others. Despite our efforts, we may not be able to prevent third parties from infringing upon or misappropriating our intellectual property, which could result in a substantial loss of our market share.
Actual or perceived non-compliance with privacy and data protection laws, regulations and standards could adversely impact our business.
Our business is subject to laws and regulations by various federal, state and international legislative and governmental agencies responsible for legislating, monitoring and enforcing privacy and data protection laws (“Data Privacy Laws”). The regulatory framework regarding the collection, protection, use, transfer and disclosure of personal information is rapidly evolving, and Data Privacy Laws are subject to new and changing interpretations and amendments, creating uncertainty and additional legal obligations for ourselves, our partners, vendors and customers. We expect that there will continue to be newly proposed or changes to interpretations of existing Data Privacy Laws and industry standards, including self-regulatory standards advocated by industry groups, in various jurisdictions globally, and we may not be able to appropriately anticipate or timely respond to the impacts such and similar developments may have on our business or the businesses of our partners, vendors and customers.
We continue to regularly enhance our policies and controls across our business relating to how we and our business partners collect, protect and use customer and employee personal information. Ongoing changes to the regulatory landscape will likely increase the cost and complexity of our business relationships, internal operations and the delivery of our products and services. In addition, this may affect our ability to run promotions and effectively market our offerings and could subsequently impact the demand for our products and services.
Any actual or perceived failure by us or our business partners to comply with Data Privacy Laws, the privacy commitments contained in our contracts, or the privacy notices we have posted on our website could subject us to investigations, sanctions, enforcement actions, negative financial consequences, civil and criminal liability or injunctions. For example, failure to comply with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation requirements may lead to fines of up to €20 million or 4% of the annual global revenues of the infringer, whichever is greater. Additionally, as a technology provider, our customers expect us to demonstrate compliance with current Data Privacy Laws and further make contractual commitments and implement processes to enable the customer to comply with their own obligations under Data Protection Laws, and our actual or perceived inability
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to do so may adversely impact sales of our products and services, particularly to customers in highly regulated industries. As a result, our reputation and brand may be harmed, we could incur significant costs, and our financial and operating results could be materially adversely affected.
Our use of “open source” software in our products could negatively affect our ability to sell our products and subject us to litigation.
Many of our products and services incorporate so-called “open source” software, and we may incorporate open source software into other products and services in the future. Open source software is generally licensed by its authors or other third parties under open source licenses. Open source licensors generally do not provide warranties or assurance of title or controls on origin of the software, which exposes us to potential liability if the software fails to work or infringes the intellectual property of a third party.
We monitor our use of open source software in an effort to avoid subjecting our products to conditions we do not intend and avoid exposing us to unacceptable financial risk. However, the processes we follow to monitor our use of open source software could fail to achieve their intended result. In addition, although we believe that we have complied with our obligations under the various applicable licenses for open source software that we use, there is little or no legal precedent governing the interpretation of terms in most of these licenses, which increases the risk that a court could interpret the licenses differently than we do.
From time to time, we receive inquiries or claims from authors or distributors of open source software included in our products regarding our compliance with the conditions of one or more open source licenses. An adverse outcome to a claim could require us to:
pay significant damages;
stop distributing our products that contain the open source software;
revise or modify our product code to remove alleged infringing code;
release the source code of our proprietary software; or
take other steps to avoid or remedy an alleged infringement.
We have faced and successfully defended against allegations of copyright infringement and failing to comply with the terms of the open source General Public License v.2, but we can provide no assurances that we will not face similar lawsuits with respect to our use of open source software in the future, nor what the outcome of any such lawsuits may be.
If we fail to comply with government contracting regulations, our business could be adversely affected.
Our contracts with federal, state, local and non-U.S. governmental customers and our arrangements with distributors and resellers who may sell directly to governmental customers are subject to various procurement regulations, contract provisions and other requirements relating to their formation, administration and performance. Any failure by us to comply with government contracting regulations could result in the imposition of various civil and criminal penalties, which may include termination of contracts, forfeiture of profits, suspension of payments, fines and suspension from future government contracting, any of which could adversely affect our business, operating results or financial condition. Further, any negative publicity related to our government contracts or any proceedings surrounding them, regardless of accuracy, may damage our business and affect our ability to compete for new contracts.
Risks Related to Our Relationship with Dell
Our relationship with Dell may adversely impact our business and stock price.
As of January 29, 2021, Dell beneficially owned 30,678,605 shares of our Class A common stock and all 307,221,836 shares of our Class B common stock, representing 80.6% of the total outstanding shares of common stock or 97.4% of the voting power of outstanding common stock held by EMC, and we are considered a “controlled” company under the rules of the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”). Accordingly, strategic and business decisions made by Dell can impact our strategic and business decisions and relationships, and public speculation regarding Dell’s strategic direction and prospects, as well as our relationship with Dell, can cause our stock price to fluctuate.
For example, in July 2020, Dell announced that it was exploring its strategic alternatives with respect to its ownership interest in us, including a possible spin-off of its ownership interest to Dell stockholders and that as part of that exploration it also expected to explore certain terms and conditions that could include negotiating a special cash dividend to be paid by VMware on a pro rata basis to all VMware stockholders that VMware would fund, in part, through the incurrence of additional indebtedness. A special committee of independent directors of our board of directors has been evaluating the spin-off. However, there can be no assurance that a spin-off will occur. Previously, during 2018, Dell had conducted a review of its strategic alternatives that led to Dell’s exchange of its Class V common stock designed to track our financial performance for its Class C
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common stock and our payment of a special cash dividend totaling $11.0 billion. Throughout that year, the stock price of our Class A common stock experienced periods of significant volatility related to public speculation regarding the outcome of Dell’s strategic review and the likelihood of its success. Additionally, speculation regarding how our relationship with Dell might be affected by Dell’s status as a publicly traded company or additional strategic transactions involving Dell, such as our acquisition of Pivotal in December 2019, creates uncertainty for our stockholders, customers, partners and employees, which could negatively impact sales, make it difficult to attract and retain employees and distract management’s focus from executing on other strategic initiatives.
A number of other factors relating to our relationship with Dell could adversely affect our business or our stock price in the future, including:
Dell is able to control matters requiring our stockholders’ approval, including the election of a majority of our directors as described in the risk factors below.
Dell could implement changes to our business, including changing our commercial relationship with Dell or taking other corporate actions, such as participating in business combinations, that our other stockholders may not view as beneficial.
We have arrangements with a number of companies that compete with Dell, and our relationship with Dell could adversely affect our relationships with these companies or other customers, suppliers and partners.
Since the Dell Acquisition, the portion of our bookings that are realized through Dell sales channels has grown more rapidly than our sales through non-Dell resellers and distributors, and we expect this trend to continue. To the extent that we find ourselves relying more heavily upon Dell for our channel sales, Dell’s leverage over our sales and marketing efforts may increase and our ability to negotiate favorable go-to-market arrangements with Dell and with other channel partners may decline. During the fiscal 2021, revenue from Dell, including purchases of products and services directly from us, as well as through our channel partners, accounted for 35% of our consolidated revenue, which included revenue from Dell selling joint solutions as an OEM, acting as a distributor to other non-Dell resellers, reselling products and services as a reseller or purchasing products and services for its own internal use. On certain transactions, Dell Financial Services also provided financing to our end users at our end users’ discretion.
Dell has a right to approve certain matters under our certificate of incorporation, including acquisitions or investments in excess of $100 million, and Dell may choose not to consent to matters that our board of directors believes are in the best interests of VMware.
Dell is highly leveraged and commits a substantial portion of its cash flows to servicing its indebtedness. Dell’s significant debt could create the perception that Dell may exercise its control over us to limit our growth in favor of its other businesses or cause us to transfer cash to Dell and incur additional indebtedness. In addition, if Dell defaults, or appears in danger of defaulting, on its indebtedness, uncertainty as to the impact of such a default on VMware could disrupt our business.
Investor perceptions of Dell’s performance, future plans and prospects could contribute to volatility in the price of our Class A common stock.
Some of our products compete directly with products sold or distributed by Dell, which could result in reduced sales.
Holders of our Class A common stock have limited ability to influence matters requiring stockholder approval.
As of January 29, 2021, Dell controlled 80.6% of the total outstanding shares of common stock, including all of our outstanding Class B common stock, representing 97.4% of the voting power of our total outstanding common stock. Through its control of the Class B common stock, which is generally entitled to 10 votes per share, Dell controls the vote to elect all of our directors and to approve or disapprove all other matters submitted to a stockholder vote.
Prior to a distribution by Dell to its stockholders under Section 355 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (a “355 Distribution”), shares of Class B common stock transferred to any party other than a successor-in-interest or a subsidiary of EMC automatically convert into Class A common stock. Dell’s voting control over VMware will continue so long as the shares of Class B common stock it controls continue to represent at least 20% of our outstanding stock. If its ownership falls below 20% of the outstanding shares of our common stock, all outstanding shares of Class B common stock will automatically convert to Class A common stock. If Dell effects a 355 Distribution at a time when it holds shares of Class B common stock, its stockholders will receive Class B common stock. These shares will remain entitled to 10 votes per share, holders of these shares will remain entitled to elect 80% of the total number of directors on our board of directors and the holders of our Class A common stock will continue to have limited ability to influence matters requiring stockholder approval and have limited ability to elect members of our board of directors. Following a 355 Distribution, shares of Class B common stock may convert to Class A common stock if such conversion is approved by VMware stockholders after the 355 Distribution and we have obtained a private letter ruling from the IRS.
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Dell has the ability to prevent us from taking actions that might be in our best interest.
Under our certificate of incorporation and the master transaction agreement we entered into with EMC, we must (subject to certain exceptions) obtain the consent of EMC (which is controlled by Dell) or its successor-in-interest, as the holder of our Class B common stock, prior to taking specified actions, such as acquiring other companies for consideration in excess of $100 million, issuing stock or other VMware securities, except pursuant to employee benefit plans (provided that we obtain Class B common stockholder approval of the aggregate annual number of shares to be granted under such plans), paying dividends, entering into any exclusive or exclusionary arrangement with a third party involving, in whole or in part, products or services that are similar to EMC’s or amending certain provisions of our charter documents. In addition, we have agreed that for so long as EMC or its successor-in-interest continues to own greater than 50% of the voting control of our outstanding common stock, we will not knowingly take or fail to take any action that could reasonably be expected to preclude the ability of EMC or its successor-in-interest (including Dell) to undertake a tax-free spin-off. If Dell does not provide any requisite consent allowing us to conduct such activities when requested, we will not be able to conduct such activities. As a result, we may have to forgo capital raising or acquisition opportunities that would otherwise be available to us, and we may be precluded from pursuing certain growth initiatives.
By becoming a stockholder in our company, holders of our Class A common stock are deemed to have notice of and have consented to the provisions of our certificate of incorporation and the master transaction agreement with respect to the limitations that are described above.
Dell has the ability to prevent a change-in-control transaction and may sell control of VMware without benefiting other stockholders.
Dell’s voting control and its additional rights described above give Dell the ability to prevent transactions that would result in a change of control of VMware, including transactions in which holders of our Class A common stock might otherwise receive a premium for their shares over the then-current market price. In addition, Dell is not prohibited from selling a controlling interest in us to a third party and may do so without the approval of the holders of our Class A common stock and without providing for a purchase of any shares of Class A common stock held by persons other than Dell. Accordingly, shares of Class A common stock may be worth less than they would be if Dell did not maintain voting control over us or if Dell did not have the additional rights described above.
If Dell’s level of ownership significantly increases, Dell could unilaterally effect a merger of VMware into Dell without a vote of VMware stockholders or the VMware Board of Directors at a price per share that might not reflect a premium to then-current market prices.
As of January 29, 2021, Dell controlled 80.6% of VMware’s outstanding common stock, and Dell’s percentage ownership of VMware common stock could increase as a result of repurchases by VMware of its Class A common stock or purchases by Dell. Section 253 of the Delaware General Corporation Law permits a parent company, when it owns 90% or more of each class of a subsidiary’s stock that generally would be entitled to vote on a merger of that subsidiary with the parent, to unilaterally effect a merger of the subsidiary into the parent without a vote of the subsidiary’s board or stockholders. Accordingly, if Dell becomes the holder of at least 90% of VMware’s outstanding stock, neither VMware’s board of directors nor VMware’s stockholders would be entitled to vote on a merger of VMware into Dell (the “short-form merger”). Moreover, a short-form merger is not subject to the stringent “entire fairness” standard and the parent company is not required to negotiate with a special committee of disinterested directors that would serve to approximate arm’s length negotiations designed to ensure that a fair price is paid. Rather, a minority stockholder’s sole remedy in the context of a short-form merger is to exercise appraisal rights under Delaware law. In such a proceeding, petitioning stockholders may be awarded more or less than the merger price or the amount they would have received in a merger negotiated between the parent and a disinterested special committee advised by independent financial and legal advisors. Pursuant to a letter agreement entered into by VMware and Dell on July 1, 2018, until the ten-year anniversary of the agreement, Dell may not purchase or otherwise acquire any shares of common stock of VMware if such acquisition would cause the common stock of VMware to no longer be publicly traded on a U.S. securities exchange or VMware to no longer be required to file reports under Sections 13 and 15(d) of the Exchange Act, in each case, unless such transaction has been approved in advance by a special committee of the VMware Board of Directors comprised solely of independent and disinterested directors or such acquisition of VMware common stock is required in order for VMware to continue to be a member of the affiliated group of corporations filing a consolidated tax return with Dell.
We engage in related persons transactions with Dell that may divert our resources, create opportunity costs and prove to be unsuccessful.
We currently engage in a number of related persons transactions with Dell that include joint product development, go-to-market, branding, sales, customer service activities, real estate and various support services, and we expect to engage in additional related persons transactions with Dell to leverage the benefits of our strategic alignment. For example, in December 2019, we acquired Pivotal, a then majority owned subsidiary of Dell and a company in which we held a significant ownership interest.
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We believe that these related persons transactions provide us a unique opportunity to leverage the respective technical expertise, product strengths and market presence of Dell and its subsidiaries for the benefit of our customers and stockholders while enabling us to compete more effectively with competitors who are much larger than us. However, these transactions may prove not to be successful and may divert our resources or the attention of our management from other opportunities. Negotiating and implementing these arrangements can be time consuming and cause delays in the introduction of joint product and service offerings and disruptions to VMware’s business. We cannot predict whether our stockholders and industry or securities analysts who cover us will react positively to announcements of new related persons transactions with Dell, and such announcements could have a negative impact on our stock price. Our participation in these transactions may also cause certain of our other vendors and ecosystem partners who compete with Dell and its subsidiaries to also view us as their competitors.
Our business and Dell’s businesses overlap, and Dell may compete with us, which could reduce our market share.
We and Dell are IT infrastructure companies providing products and services that overlap in various areas, including software-based storage, management, hyperconverged infrastructure and cloud computing. Dell competes with us in these areas now and may engage in increased competition with us in the future. In addition, the intellectual property agreement that we have entered into with EMC (which is controlled by Dell) provides EMC the ability to use our source code and intellectual property, which, subject to limitations, it may use to produce certain products that compete with ours. EMC’s rights in this regard extend to its majority-owned subsidiaries, which could include joint ventures where EMC holds a majority position and one or more of our competitors hold minority positions.
Dell could assert control over us in a manner that could impede our growth or our ability to enter new markets or otherwise adversely affect our business. Further, Dell could utilize its control over us to cause us to take or refrain from taking certain actions, including entering into relationships with channel, technology and other marketing partners, enforcing our intellectual property rights or pursuing business combinations, other corporate opportunities (which EMC is expressly permitted to pursue under the circumstances set forth in our certificate of incorporation) or product development initiatives that could adversely affect our competitive position, including our competitive position relative to that of Dell in markets where we compete with Dell. In addition, Dell maintains significant partnerships with certain of our competitors, including Microsoft.
Dell’s competition in certain markets may affect our ability to build and maintain partnerships.
Our existing and potential partner relationships may be negatively affected by our relationship with Dell. We partner with a number of companies that compete with Dell in certain markets in which Dell participates. Dell’s control of EMC’s majority ownership in us may affect our ability to effectively partner with these companies. These companies may favor our competitors because of our relationship with Dell.
Dell competes with certain of our significant channel, technology and other marketing partners, including IBM and Hewlett-Packard. Pursuant to our certificate of incorporation and other agreements that we have with EMC, EMC and Dell may have the ability to impact our relationship with those of our partners that compete with EMC or Dell, which could have a material adverse effect on our operating results and our ability to pursue opportunities that may otherwise be available to us.
We could be held liable for the tax liabilities of other members of Dell’s consolidated tax group, and compared to our historical results as a member of the EMC consolidated tax group, our tax liabilities may increase, fluctuate more widely and be less predictable.
We have historically been included in EMC’s consolidated group for U.S. federal income tax purposes, as well as in certain consolidated, combined or unitary groups that include EMC or certain of its subsidiaries for state and local income tax purposes, and since the Dell Acquisition, we have been included in Dell’s consolidated tax group. Effective as of the close of the Dell Acquisition, we amended our tax sharing agreement with EMC to include Dell. Although our tax sharing agreement provides that our tax liability is calculated primarily as though VMware were a separate taxpayer, certain tax attributes and transactions are assessed using consolidated tax return rules as applied to the Dell consolidated tax group and are subject to other specialized terms under the tax sharing agreement. Pursuant to our agreement, we and Dell generally will make payments to each other such that, with respect to tax returns for any taxable period in which we or any of our subsidiaries are included in Dell’s consolidated group for U.S. federal income tax purposes or any other consolidated, combined or unitary group of Dell or its subsidiaries, the amount of taxes to be paid by us will be determined, subject to certain consolidated return adjustments, as if we and each of our subsidiaries included in such consolidated, combined or unitary group filed our own consolidated, combined or unitary tax return. Consequently, compared to our historical results as a member of the EMC consolidated tax group, the amount of our tax sharing payment compared to our separate return basis liability may increase, vary more widely from period to period and be less predictable. Additionally, the impact of the 2017 Tax Act upon consolidated groups is highly complex and uncertain and its impact must be further interpreted in the context of the tax sharing agreement to determine VMware’s tax sharing payment. In April 2019, VMware, Dell and EMC entered into a letter agreement that governs our portion of the one-time transition tax imposed by the 2017 Tax Act on accumulated earnings of foreign subsidiaries.
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When we become subject to federal income tax audits as a member of Dell’s consolidated group, the tax sharing agreement provides that Dell has authority to control the audit and represent Dell and our interests to the IRS. Accordingly, if we and Dell or its successor-in-interest differ on appropriate responses and positions to take with respect to tax questions that may arise in the course of an audit, our ability to affect the outcome of such audits may be impaired. In addition, if Dell effects a 355 Distribution or other transaction that is subsequently determined to be taxable, we could be liable for all or a portion of the tax liability, which could have a material adverse effect on our operating results and financial condition.
We have been included in the EMC consolidated group for U.S. federal income tax purposes since our acquisition by EMC in 2004 and will continue to be included in Dell’s consolidated group for periods in which Dell or its successor-in-interest beneficially owns at least 80% of the total voting power and value of our outstanding stock. Each member of a consolidated group during any part of a consolidated return year is jointly and severally liable for tax on the consolidated return of such year and for any subsequently determined deficiency thereon. Similarly, in some jurisdictions, each member of a consolidated, combined or unitary group for state, local or foreign income tax purposes is jointly and severally liable for the state, local or foreign income tax liability of each other member of the consolidated, combined or unitary group. Accordingly, for any period in which we are included in the Dell consolidated group for U.S. federal income tax purposes or any other consolidated, combined or unitary group of Dell and its subsidiaries, we could be liable in the event that any income tax liability was incurred, but not discharged, by any other member of any such group.
During the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020, we completed the acquisition of Pivotal. Pivotal will continue to file its separate tax return for U.S. federal income tax purposes as it left the Dell consolidated tax group at the time of Pivotal’s initial public offering (“IPO”) in April 2018. Pivotal continues to be included on Dell’s unitary state tax returns. Pursuant to a tax sharing agreement, Pivotal may receive or owe payments from or to Dell for tax benefits or expenses that Dell realized due to Pivotal’s inclusion on such returns.
In December 2019, VMware amended the tax sharing agreement with Dell in connection with, and effective as of, the Pivotal acquisition. The tax sharing agreement with Dell, as amended and subject to certain exceptions, generally limits VMware’s maximum annual tax liability to Dell to the amount VMware would owe on a separate tax return basis.
Also, under the tax sharing agreement, if it is subsequently determined that the tracking stock issued in connection with the Dell Acquisition and which Dell subsequently eliminated through a share exchange constitutes a taxable distribution, we could be liable for all or a portion of the tax liability, which could have a material adverse effect on our operating results and financial condition.
We have limited ability to resolve favorably any disputes that arise between us and Dell.
Disputes may arise between Dell and us in a number of areas relating to our ongoing relationships, including our reseller, technology and other business agreements with Dell, areas of competitive overlap, strategic initiatives, requests for consent to activities specified in our certificate of incorporation and the terms of our intercompany agreements. We may not be able to resolve any potential conflicts with Dell, and even if we do, the resolution may be less favorable than if we were dealing with an unaffiliated party.
While we are controlled by Dell, we may not have the leverage to negotiate renewals or amendments to these agreements, if required, on terms as favorable to us as those we would negotiate with an unaffiliated third party, if at all.
Some of our directors have potential conflicts of interest with Dell.
The Chairman of our Board of Directors, Michael Dell, is also Chairman and CEO of Dell and is a significant stockholder of Dell, and one of our directors, Egon Durbin, is member of the Dell board of directors and managing partner of Silver Lake Partners, which is a significant stockholder of Dell. Another of our directors also holds shares of Dell common stock. Dell, through its controlling voting interest in our outstanding common stock, is entitled to elect 8 of our 10 directors and possesses sufficient voting control to elect the remaining directors. Ownership of Dell common stock by our directors and the presence of executive officers or directors of Dell on our board of directors could create, or appear to create, conflicts of interest with respect to matters involving both us and Dell that could have different implications for Dell than they do for us. Our Board has approved resolutions that address corporate opportunities that are presented to our directors that are also directors or officers of Dell. These provisions may not adequately address potential conflicts of interest or ensure that potential conflicts of interest will be resolved in our favor. As a result, we may not be able to take advantage of corporate opportunities presented to individuals who are directors of both us and Dell and we may be precluded from pursuing certain growth initiatives.
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We are a “controlled company” within the meaning of the New York Stock Exchange rules and, as a result, are relying on exemptions from certain corporate governance requirements that provide protection to stockholders of companies that are not “controlled companies.”
Dell owns more than 50% of the total voting power of our common stock and, as a result, we are a “controlled company” under the NYSE corporate governance standards. As a controlled company, we are exempt under the NYSE standards from the obligation to comply with certain NYSE corporate governance requirements, including the requirements:
that a majority of our board of directors consists of independent directors;
that we have a corporate governance and nominating committee that is composed entirely of independent directors with a written charter addressing the committee’s purpose and responsibilities;
that we have a compensation committee that is composed entirely of independent directors with a written charter addressing the committee’s purpose and responsibilities; and
for an annual performance evaluation of the nominating and governance committee and compensation committee.
While we have voluntarily caused our Compensation and Corporate Governance Committee to currently be composed entirely of independent directors, reflecting the requirements of the NYSE, we are not required to maintain the independent composition of the committee. As a result of our use of the “controlled company” exemptions, holders of our Class A common stock will not have the same protection afforded to stockholders of companies that are subject to all of the NYSE corporate governance requirements.
Dell’s ability to control our board of directors may make it difficult for us to recruit independent directors.
So long as Dell beneficially owns shares of our common stock representing at least a majority of the votes entitled to be cast by the holders of outstanding voting stock, Dell can effectively control and direct our board of directors. Further, the interests of Dell and our other stockholders may diverge. Under these circumstances, it may become difficult for us to recruit independent directors.
Our historical financial information as a majority-owned subsidiary may not be representative of the results of a completely independent public company.
The financial information covering the periods included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K does not necessarily reflect what our financial condition, operating results or cash flows would have been had we been a completely independent entity during those periods. In certain geographic regions where we do not have an established legal entity, we contract with Dell subsidiaries for support services and Dell personnel who are managed by us. The costs incurred by Dell on our behalf related to these employees are passed on to us and we are charged a mark-up intended to approximate costs that would have been charged had we contracted for such services with an unrelated third party. These costs are included as expenses on our consolidated statements of income. Additionally, we engage with Dell in related party transactions, including agreements regarding the use of Dell’s and our intellectual property and real estate, agreements regarding the sale of goods and services to one another, and agreements for Dell to resell and distribute our products and services to third party customers. If Dell were to distribute its shares of our common stock to its stockholders or otherwise divest itself of all or a significant portion of its VMware shares, there would be numerous implications to us, including the fact that we could lose the benefit of these arrangements with Dell. There can be no assurance that we would be able to renegotiate these arrangements with Dell or replace them on the same or similar terms. Additionally, our business could face significant disruption and uncertainty as we transition from these arrangements with Dell. Moreover, our historical financial information is not necessarily indicative of what our financial condition, operating results or cash flows would be in the future if and when we contract at arm’s length with independent third parties for the services we have received and currently receive from Dell. During the year ended January 29, 2021, we recognized revenue of $4.1 billion, and as of January 29, 2021, $5.0 billion of sales were included in unearned revenue from such transactions with Dell. For additional information, refer to “Our Relationship with Dell” in “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” in Part II, Item 7 and Note D to the consolidated financial statements in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Risks Related to Owning Our Class A Common Stock
The price of our Class A common stock has fluctuated significantly in recent years and may fluctuate significantly in the future.
The trading price of our Class A common stock has fluctuated significantly in the past and could fluctuate substantially in the future due to the factors discussed in this Risk Factors section and elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Dell, which beneficially owned 80.6% of our outstanding stock as of January 29, 2021, is not restricted from selling its shares and is entitled to certain registration rights. If a significant number of shares enters the public trading markets in a short period of time, the market price of our Class A common stock may decline. In addition, if our Class B common stock is
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distributed to Dell stockholders and remains outstanding, it would trade separately from and potentially at a premium to our Class A common stock, and could thereby contribute additional volatility to the price of our Class A common stock.
Broad market and industry factors may also decrease the market price of our Class A common stock, regardless of our actual operating performance. The stock market in general and technology companies in particular have often experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations. Our public float is also relatively small due to Dell’s holdings, which can result in greater volatility in our stock compared to that of other companies with a market capitalization similar to ours. In addition, in the past, following periods of volatility in the overall market and the market price of a company’s securities, securities class action litigation has often been instituted, including against us, and, if not resolved swiftly, can result in substantial costs and a diversion of management’s attention and resources.
Anti-takeover provisions in Delaware law and our charter documents could discourage takeover attempts.
As our controlling stockholder, Dell has the ability to prevent a change in control of VMware. Provisions in our certificate of incorporation and bylaws may also have the effect of delaying or preventing a change of control or changes in our management. These provisions include the following:
the division of our board of directors into three classes, with each class serving for a staggered three-year term, which prevents stockholders from electing an entirely new board of directors at any annual meeting;
the right of the board of directors to elect a director to fill a vacancy created by the expansion of the board of directors;
following a 355 Distribution of Class B common stock by Dell to its stockholders, the restriction that a beneficial owner of 10% or more of our Class B common stock may not vote in any election of directors unless such person or group also owns at least an equivalent percentage of Class A common stock or obtains approval of our board of directors prior to acquiring beneficial ownership of at least 5% of Class B common stock;
the prohibition of cumulative voting in the election of directors or any other matters, which would otherwise allow less than a majority of stockholders to elect director candidates;
the requirement for advance notice for nominations for election to the board of directors or for proposing matters that can be acted upon at a stockholders’ meeting;
the ability of the board of directors to issue, without stockholder approval, up to 100,000,000 shares of preferred stock with terms set by the board of directors, which rights could be senior to those of common stock; and
in the event that Dell or its successor-in-interest no longer owns shares of our common stock representing at least a majority of the votes entitled to be cast in the election of directors, stockholders may not act by written consent and may not call special meetings of the stockholders.
In addition, we have elected to apply the provisions of Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law. These provisions may prohibit large stockholders, in particular those owning 15% or more of our outstanding voting stock, from merging or combining with us. These provisions in our certificate of incorporation and bylaws and under Delaware law could discourage potential takeover attempts and could reduce the price that investors might be willing to pay for shares of our common stock.
General Risks
We are exposed to foreign exchange risks.
We conduct a meaningful portion of our business in currencies other than the U.S. dollar, but report our operating results in U.S. dollars. Accordingly, our operating results are subject to fluctuations in currency exchange rates. The realized gain or loss on foreign currency transactions is dependent upon the types of foreign currency transactions into which we enter, the exchange rates associated with these transactions and changes in those rates, the net realized gain or loss on our foreign currency forward contracts, among other factors. Although we hedge a portion of our foreign currency exposure, significant fluctuations in exchange rates between the U.S. dollar and foreign currencies have adversely affected, and may adversely affect in the future, our operating results. For example, the economic uncertainty introduced by Brexit resulted in significant volatility in the value of the British pound and other currencies, and the COVID-19 pandemic may make it more difficult for us to accurately forecast future transactions in foreign currencies and cause us to have to modify hedging positions, thereby adversely impacting the efficacy of our foreign currency hedging strategy and our operating results. Any future weakening of foreign currency exchange rates against the U.S. dollar would likely result in additional adverse impacts on our revenue.
If our goodwill or amortizable intangible assets become impaired, we may be required to record a significant charge to earnings.
We may not realize all the economic benefit from our business acquisitions, which could result in an impairment of goodwill or intangibles. As of January 29, 2021, goodwill and amortizable intangible assets were $9.6 billion and $993 million,
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respectively. We review our goodwill and amortizable intangible assets for impairment when events or changes in circumstances indicate the carrying value may not be recoverable. We test goodwill for impairment at least annually. Factors that may lead to impairment include a substantial decline in stock price and market capitalization or cash flows, reduced future cash flow estimates related to the assets and slower growth rates in our industry. We may be required to record a significant charge in our financial statements during the period in which any impairment of our goodwill or amortizable intangible assets is determined, which would negatively impact our operating results.
If securities or industry analysts change their recommendations regarding our stock adversely, our stock price and trading volume could decline.
The trading market for our Class A common stock is influenced by the research and reports that industry or securities analysts publish about us, our business, our market or our competitors. If any of the analysts who cover us change their recommendation regarding our stock adversely, or provide more favorable relative recommendations about our competitors, our stock price would likely decline.
Changes in accounting principles and guidance could result in unfavorable accounting charges or effects.
We prepare our consolidated financial statements in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the U.S. These principles are subject to interpretation by the Securities and Exchange Commission and various bodies formed to create and interpret appropriate accounting principles and guidance. A change in these principles or guidance, or in their interpretations, may have a material effect on our reported results, as well as our processes and related controls, and may retroactively affect previously reported results.
Natural disasters, catastrophic events or geo-political conditions could disrupt our business.
A significant natural disaster, such as an earthquake, fire, flood or other act of God, catastrophic event or pandemic, abrupt political change, terrorist activity and armed conflict, and any similar disruption, as well as any derivative disruption, such as those to services provided through localized physical infrastructure, including utility or telecommunication outages, or any to the continuity of our, our partners’ and our customers’ workforce, could have a material adverse impact on our business and operating results. Our worldwide operations are dependent on our network infrastructure, internal technology systems and website, as well as our intellectual property and personnel, significant portions of which, including our corporate headquarters, are located in California, a region known for seismic activity, fires and floods. Disruption to these dependencies may negatively impact our ability to respond to customer requests, process orders, provide services and maintain local and global business continuity. Delays or cancellations of customer orders or the deployment or availability of our products and services, for example, could materially impact our revenue. Furthermore, some of our newer product initiatives, offerings and business functions are hosted or carried out by third parties that may be vulnerable to these same types of disruptions, the response to or resolution of which may be beyond our control. Additionally, any such disruption could cause us to incur significant costs to repair damages to our facilities, equipment, infrastructure and business relationships.
Climate change may have a long-term negative impact on our business.
Risks related to rapid climate change may have an increasingly adverse impact on our business and those of our customers, partners and vendors in the longer term. While we seek to mitigate the business risks associated with climate change for our operations, there are inherent climate-related risks wherever business is conducted. Access to clean water and reliable energy in the communities where we conduct our business, whether for our offices, data centers, vendors, customers or other stakeholders, is a priority. Any of our primary locations may be vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change and the impacts of extreme weather events, which have caused regional short-term systemic failures in the U.S. and elsewhere. For example, our California headquarters are projected to be vulnerable to future water scarcity due to climate change. While this danger has a low-assessed risk of disrupting normal business operations, it has the potential to impact employees’ abilities to commute to work or to work from home and stay connected effectively. Climate-related events, including the increasing frequency of extreme weather events, their impact on critical infrastructure in the U.S. and internationally and their potential to increase political instability in regions where we, our customers, partners and our vendors do business, have the potential to disrupt our business, our third-party suppliers, or the business of our customers and partners, and may cause us to experience higher attrition, losses and additional costs to maintain or resume operations.
ITEM 1B.    UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS
None.
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ITEM 2.PROPERTIES
As of January 29, 2021, we owned or leased the facilities described below:
Location Approximate
Sq. Ft.
Principal Use(s)
Palo Alto, CA owned: 1,604,769  (1) Executive and administrative offices, sales and marketing, and R&D
North and Latin American region leased: 1,926,745  Administrative offices, sales and marketing, R&D and data center
Asia Pacific region leased: 1,960,960  Administrative offices, sales and marketing, R&D and data center
Europe, Middle East and Africa region leased: 749,958  Administrative offices, sales and marketing, R&D and data center
(1) Represents all of the right, title and interest purchased in ground leases, which expire in fiscal 2047, covering the property and improvements located at VMware’s Palo Alto, California campus.
We believe that our current facilities will support our employee headcount through fiscal 2022 while working in a distributed manner that empowers our people to work from any location, consistent with business requirements. We review our real estate on an ongoing basis to support our growing employee base and operational excellence.
ITEM 3.LEGAL PROCEEDINGS
Refer to Note E to the consolidated financial statements in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for a description of legal proceedings. See also the risk factor entitled “We are involved in litigation, investigations and regulatory inquiries and proceedings that could negatively affect us” in Part I, Item 1A of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for a discussion of potential risks to our results of operations and financial condition that may arise from legal proceedings.
ITEM 4.MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES
Not applicable.
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PART II
ITEM 5.     MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES
Market Information
Our Class A common stock, par value $0.01 per share, trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol VMW.
Holders
As of March 16, 2021, we had 26 holders of record of our Class A common stock and three holders of record of our Class B common stock, EMC Corporation (“EMC”), VMW Holdco LLC and EMC Equity Assets LLC, each of which is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Dell Technologies Inc. (“Dell”).
Dividends
Subsequent to our initial public offering in August 2007, we have not declared or paid regular cash dividends on our common stock. On July 1, 2018, we declared a conditional special dividend of $11.0 billion, which was paid on December 28, 2018, with a per share dividend amount of $26.81.
On July 15, 2020, Dell Technologies Inc. (“Dell”) announced that it is exploring potential alternatives with respect to its ownership interest in VMware, Inc. (“VMware”), including a potential spin-off of its ownership interest to Dell stockholders that is intended to qualify as generally tax-free for U.S. federal income tax purposes to Dell and its stockholders (a “Spin-off”). VMware has formed a special committee of the board of directors (the “Special Committee”) to evaluate and engage in discussions and negotiations with Dell with respect to any proposal that may be made by Dell with respect to a Spin-off. As part of the discussions, VMware expects that it may negotiate with Dell the payment of a special cash dividend by VMware, which would be paid on a pro rata basis to all of VMware’s stockholders. Holders of our Class A common stock and our Class B common stock will share equally on a per share basis in any dividend declared on our common stock by our board of directors.
Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities
    None.
Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Issuer purchases of Class A common stock during the three months ended January 29, 2021 were as follows:
Total Number of Shares Purchased
Average Price Paid Per Share(1)
Total Number of Shares Purchased as Part of Publicly Announced Plans or Programs
Approximate Dollar Value of Shares That May Yet Be Purchased Under the Publicly Announced Plans or Programs(2)
October 31 – November 27, 2020 850,000  $ 141.83  850,000  $ 1,313,867,804 
November 28 – December 25, 2020 750,000  141.78  750,000  1,207,530,664 
December 26, 2020 – January 29, 2021 1,114,591  136.65  1,114,591  1,055,223,853 
2,714,591  $ 139.69  2,714,591  1,055,223,853 
(1)The average price paid per share excludes commissions.
(2) Represents the cumulative amount remaining for stock repurchases under the May 2019 and July 2020 authorizations, which expire at the end of fiscal 2022. Amounts remaining exclude commissions. Refer to Note Q to the consolidated financial statements in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for more information.
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Stock Performance Graph
The graph below compares the cumulative total stockholder return on our Class A common stock with the cumulative total return on the S&P 500 Index and the S&P 500 Systems Software index for the period beginning on December 31, 2015 through January 29, 2021, assuming an initial investment of $100. The stockholder return assumes reinvestment of dividends. VMW-20210129_G1.JPG
Base Period
12/31/2015
12/31/2016 2/3/2017 2/2/2018 2/1/2019 1/31/2020 1/29/2021
VMware, Inc. $ 100.00  $ 139.17  $ 157.24  $ 216.93  $ 320.27  $ 315.06  $ 293.34 
S&P 500 Index 100.00  111.96  115.06  141.10  141.02  171.42  200.99 
S&P 500 Systems Software Index 100.00  113.24  117.29  166.27  186.46  295.27  404.80 
Note: The stock price performance shown on the graph above is not necessarily indicative of future price performance. This graph shall not be deemed “filed” for purposes of Section 18 of the Exchange Act or otherwise subject to the liabilities of that section nor shall it be deemed incorporated by reference in any filing under the Securities Act or the Exchange Act, regardless of any general incorporation language in such filing.
ITEM 6.SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA
Part II, Item 6 is no longer required as the Company has adopted certain provisions within the amendments to Regulation S-K that eliminate Item 301.
ITEM 7.    MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
The following management’s discussion and analysis is provided in addition to the accompanying consolidated financial statements and notes to assist in understanding our results of operations and financial condition.
In December 2019, VMware completed the acquisition of Pivotal Software, Inc. (“Pivotal”), which was, at the time, a subsidiary of VMware’s parent company, Dell Technologies Inc. (“Dell”). The purchase of the controlling interest in Pivotal from Dell was accounted for as a transaction between entities under common control in accordance with Accounting Standards Codification 805-50, Business Combination - Related Issues, which requires retrospective combination of entities for all periods presented, as if the combination had been in effect since the inception of common control. As such, prior period
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financial information has been recast. The recast financial statements combine VMware’s historical financial results with those of Pivotal.
Additionally, effective with the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020, VMware is presenting new revenue and cost of revenue line items entitled, “subscription and SaaS revenue” and “cost of subscription and SaaS revenue.” Previously, subscription and software-as-a-service (“SaaS”) revenue was referred to as “hybrid cloud subscription and SaaS revenue” and was allocated between license revenue and services revenue on the consolidated statements of income. In light of our recent acquisitions, management decided to separately present revenue recognized from subscription and SaaS offerings as management believes it provides a more meaningful representation of the nature of its revenue. Revenue and its related costs from prior periods were reclassified to conform to the current presentation.
Period-over-period changes are calculated based upon the respective underlying, non-rounded data. We refer to our fiscal years ended January 29, 2021, January 31, 2020 and February 1, 2019 as “fiscal 2021,” “fiscal 2020,” and “fiscal 2019,” respectively. Unless the context requires otherwise, we are referring to VMware, Inc. and its consolidated subsidiaries when we use the terms “VMware,” the “Company,” “we,” “our” or “us.”
Discussion regarding our financial condition and results of operations for fiscal 2020 as compared to fiscal 2019 that are not included in this Form 10-K can be found in “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” in Part II, Item 7 of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended January 31, 2020, filed with the SEC on March 26, 2020.
Overview
We originally pioneered the development and application of virtualization technologies with x86 server-based computing, separating application software from the underlying hardware. Information technology (“IT”) driven innovation continues to disrupt markets and industries. Technologies emerge faster than organizations can absorb, creating increasingly complex environments. IT is working at an accelerated pace to harness new technologies, platforms and cloud models, ultimately guiding businesses through a digital transformation. To take on these challenges, we are working with customers in the areas of hybrid and multi-cloud, modern applications, networking, security and digital workspaces. Our software provides a flexible digital foundation to enable customers in their digital transformations.
Our portfolio supports and addresses the key priorities of our customers including accelerating their cloud journey, migrating and modernizing their applications, empowering digital workspaces, transforming networking and embracing intrinsic security. We enable customers to digitally transform their operations as they ready their applications, infrastructure and employees for constantly evolving business needs.
We sell our solutions using enterprise agreements (“EAs”) or as part of our non-EA, or transactional, business. EAs are comprehensive offerings that may include license and subscription and SaaS, offered both directly by us and through certain channel partners that also provide for multi-year maintenance and support. We continue to experience strong renewals resulting in additional license sales of both our existing and newer products and solutions.
Our vSphere and vRealize Cloud Management products form the foundation of our customers’ private cloud environments and provide the capabilities for our customers to extend their private cloud to the public cloud and to help them run, manage, secure and connect all their applications across all clouds and devices. During fiscal 2021, we saw a decline in our on-premises license sales, which were negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
During fiscal 2021, revenue growth in our subscription and SaaS offerings was primarily driven by our VMware Cloud Provider Program (“VCPP”), VMware Workspace ONE (“Workspace ONE”), VMware Tanzu, VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Carbon Black Cloud. We expect revenue growth derived from our subscription and SaaS offerings to continue. In addition, we expect operating margin to be negatively impacted in fiscal 2022 as a result of our incremental investment in our subscription and SaaS portfolio.
During fiscal 2021, we saw an increase in the portion of our sales occurring through our subscription and SaaS offerings compared to the portion of our on-premises solutions sold with perpetual licenses. As this trend continues, a greater portion of our revenue will be recognized over time as subscription and SaaS revenue rather than license revenue, which is typically recognized in the fiscal period in which sales occur. As a result, the rate of growth in our license revenue, which has historically been viewed as a leading indicator of our business performance, may be less relevant and we believe that the overall growth rate of our combined license and subscription and SaaS revenue, as well as the growth in remaining performance obligations, will become better indicators of our future growth prospects.
Dell Go-to-Market Initiatives
We continue joint marketing, sales, branding and product development efforts with Dell and other Dell companies to enhance the collective value we deliver to our mutual customers. During fiscal 2021, revenue from Dell, including purchases of
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products and services directly from us, as well as through our channel partners, accounted for 35% of our consolidated revenue. These purchases included Dell as an original equipment manufacturer (“OEM”), which accounted for 12% of our revenue from Dell, or 4% of our consolidated revenue, during fiscal 2021. The remaining revenue from Dell consisted of Dell acting as a distributor to other non-Dell resellers, reselling products and services as a reseller or purchasing products and services for its own internal use. On certain transactions, Dell Financial Services (“DFS”) also provided financing to our end users at our end users’ discretion.
COVID-19 Impact
The worldwide spread of COVID-19 has resulted in, and may continue to cause, a global slowdown of economic activity while also disrupting sales channels and marketing activities for an unknown period of time until the disease is contained. While the COVID-19 pandemic has not had a material adverse financial impact on our operations to date, the future course of the pandemic, any resulting economic impact and the degree and rate of economic recovery remain highly uncertain and continue to rapidly evolve. Although the pandemic has not had the level of financial impact on our business in fiscal 2021 we initially expected, we did experience negative impacts on our sales and certain of our financial results and there continues to be uncertainty regarding the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the extent to which it will have a negative impact on our sales and our financial results into fiscal 2022. For example, license revenue decreased during fiscal 2021 due in part to the effects of COVID-19 as a number of our customers’ business plans were impacted by the pandemic. We also expect our operating margin to benefit into fiscal 2022 from some of the short-term COVID-19 impacts on our operating expenses, including travel-, employee- and facilities-related costs.
We continue to closely monitor the impact of the pandemic on all aspects of our business.
Results of Operations
Approximately 70% of our sales are denominated in the United States (“U.S.”) dollar. In certain countries, however, we also invoice and collect in various foreign currencies, principally euro, British pound, Japanese yen, Australian dollar, and Chinese renminbi. In addition, we incur and pay operating expenses in currencies other than the U.S. dollar. As a result, our financial statements, including our revenue, operating expenses, unearned revenue and the resulting cash flows derived from the U.S. dollar equivalent of foreign currency transactions, are affected by foreign exchange fluctuations.
Revenue
Our revenue during the periods presented was as follows (dollars in millions): 
For the Year Ended Fiscal Year Fiscal Year
January 29, January 31, February 1, 2021 vs. 2020 2020 vs. 2019
  2021 2020 2019 $ Change % Change $ Change % Change
Revenue:
License $ 3,033  $ 3,181  $ 3,042  $ (149) (5) % $ 139  %
Subscription and SaaS 2,587  1,877  1,303  711  38  574  44 
Total license and subscription and SaaS 5,620  5,058  4,345  562  11  713  16 
Services:
Software maintenance 5,105  4,754  4,351  351  403 
Professional services 1,042  999  917  43  82 
Total services 6,147  5,753  5,268  394  485 
Total revenue $ 11,767  $ 10,811  $ 9,613  $ 956  $ 1,198  12 
Revenue:
United States $ 5,878  $ 5,405  $ 4,696  $ 473  % $ 709  15  %
International 5,889  5,406  4,917  483  489  10 
Total revenue $ 11,767  $ 10,811  $ 9,613  $ 956  $ 1,198  12 
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Revenue from our subscription offerings consisted primarily of our VCPP cloud-based offerings that are billed to customers on a consumption basis and revenue from VMware Tanzu and other offerings that are billed on a subscription basis. Revenue from our SaaS offerings consisted primarily of our Unified Endpoint Management mobile solution within Workspace ONE, VMware Cloud on AWS, CloudHealth by VMware and VMware SD-WAN by VeloCloud offerings, and newer SaaS offerings, such as VMware Carbon Black Cloud.
License revenue relating to the sale of on-premises licenses that are part of a multi-year contract is generally recognized upon delivery of the underlying license, whereas revenue derived from our subscription and SaaS offerings is generally recognized over time as customers consume the services or ratably over the term of the subscription, commencing upon provisioning of the service.
License Revenue
License revenue decreased during fiscal 2021 compared to fiscal 2020, as a result of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on license sales, and due to a shift in demand from our on-premises solutions sold with perpetual licenses to cloud-based solutions. Additionally, as customers adopt our cloud-based offerings, license revenue may be lower and subject to greater fluctuation in the future, driven by a higher percentage of cloud-based offerings being sold as well as the variability of large deals between fiscal quarters, which deals historically have had a large license revenue impact.
Subscription and SaaS Revenue
Subscription and SaaS revenue increased during fiscal 2021 compared to fiscal 2020. Revenue growth from our VCPP, Workspace ONE, VMware Tanzu, VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Carbon Black Cloud offerings continued to contribute to subscription and SaaS revenue growth during fiscal 2021 compared to fiscal 2020.
Services Revenue
During fiscal 2021 and fiscal 2020, software maintenance revenue continued to benefit from maintenance contracts sold in previous periods. In each period presented, customers purchased, on a weighted-average basis, approximately three years of support and maintenance with each new license purchased.
Professional services revenue increased during fiscal 2021 compared to fiscal 2020. Services we provide through our technical account managers and our continued focus on solution deployments, including our networking, security, cloud management and digital workspace offerings, contributed to the increase in professional services revenue. We continue to also focus on enabling our partners to deliver professional services for our solutions, and as such, our professional services revenue may vary as we continue to leverage our partners. Timing of service engagements will also impact the amount of professional services revenue we recognize during a period.
Unearned Revenue
Unearned revenue as of the periods presented consisted of the following (table in millions): 
January 29, January 31,
2021 2020
Unearned license revenue $ 15  $ 19 
Unearned subscription and SaaS revenue 1,998  1,534 
Unearned software maintenance revenue 7,092  6,700 
Unearned professional services revenue 1,209  1,015 
Total unearned revenue $ 10,314  $ 9,268 
Unearned subscription and SaaS revenue is generally recognized over time as customers consume the services or ratably over the term of the subscription, commencing upon provisioning of the service.
Unearned software maintenance revenue is attributable to our maintenance contracts and is generally recognized ratably over the contract duration. The weighted-average remaining contractual term as of January 29, 2021 was approximately two years. Unearned professional services revenue results primarily from prepaid professional services and is generally recognized as the services are performed.
Remaining Performance Obligations and Backlog
Remaining Performance Obligations
Remaining performance obligations represent the aggregate amount of the transaction price in contracts allocated to performance obligations not delivered, or partially undelivered, as of the end of the reporting period. Remaining performance
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obligations include unearned revenue, multi-year contracts with future installment payments and certain unfulfilled orders against accepted customer contracts at the end of any given period.
As of January 29, 2021, the aggregate transaction price allocated to remaining performance obligations was $11.3 billion, of which approximately 55% is expected to be recognized as revenue over the next twelve months and the remainder thereafter. As of January 31, 2020, the aggregate transaction price allocated to remaining performance obligations was $10.3 billion, of which approximately 54% was expected to be recognized as revenue during fiscal 2021, and the remainder thereafter.
Backlog
Backlog is comprised of unfulfilled purchase orders or unfulfilled executed agreements at the end of a given period and is net of related estimated rebates and marketing development funds. Backlog consists of licenses, subscription and SaaS, and services. As of January 29, 2021, our total backlog was $93 million, and our backlog related to licenses was $23 million. For our backlog related to licenses, we generally expect to deliver and recognize as revenue during the following quarter. Backlog totaling $18 million as of January 29, 2021 was excluded from the remaining performance obligations because such contracts are subject to cancellation until fulfillment of the performance obligation occurs.
As of January 31, 2020, our total backlog was $18 million, and our backlog related to licenses was $5 million. The amount excluded from the remaining performance obligations because such contracts are subject to cancellation until fulfillment of the performance obligation occurs was not material as of January 31, 2020.
The amount and composition of backlog will fluctuate period to period, and backlog is managed based upon multiple considerations, including product and geography. We do not believe the amount of backlog is indicative of future sales or revenue or that the mix of backlog at the end of any given period correlates with actual sales performance of a particular geography or particular products and services.
Cost of License Revenue, Cost of Subscription and SaaS Revenue, Cost of Services Revenue and Operating Expenses
Our cost of services revenue and operating expenses primarily reflected increasing cash-based employee-related expenses, driven by incremental growth in salaries and headcount, both organic and through acquisitions, across most of our income statement expense categories, offset in part by decreased travel-related costs resulting from travel restrictions imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic for fiscal 2021.
Cost of License Revenue
Cost of license revenue primarily consists of the cost of fulfillment of our SD-WAN offerings, royalty costs in connection with technology licensed from third-party providers and amortization of intangible assets. The cost of fulfillment of our software and hardware SD-WAN offerings includes personnel costs and related overhead associated with delivery of our products.
Cost of license revenue during the periods presented was as follows (dollars in millions):
For the Year Ended Fiscal Year Fiscal Year
January 29, January 31, February 1, 2021 vs. 2020 2020 vs. 2019
  2021 2020 2019 $ Change % Change $ Change % Change
Cost of license revenue $ 162  $ 165  $ 149  $ (3) (2) % $ 16  11  %
Stock-based compensation —  —  45 
Total expenses $ 163  $ 166  $ 150  $ (3) (2) $ 16  11 
% of License revenue % % %
Cost of license revenue remained relatively consistent in fiscal 2021 compared to fiscal 2020.
Cost of Subscription and SaaS Revenue
Cost of subscription and SaaS revenue primarily includes personnel costs and related overhead associated with hosted services supporting our SaaS offerings. Additionally, cost of subscription and SaaS revenue also includes depreciation of equipment supporting our subscription and SaaS offerings.
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Cost of subscription and SaaS revenue during the periods presented was as follows (dollars in millions):
For the Year Ended Fiscal Year Fiscal Year
January 29, January 31, February 1, 2021 vs. 2020 2020 vs. 2019
2021 2020 2019 $ Change % Change $ Change % Change
Cost of subscription and SaaS revenue $ 569  $ 387  $ 273  $ 182  47  % $ 114  42  %
Stock-based compensation 19  13  45  83 
Total expenses $ 588  $ 400  $ 280  $ 188  47  $ 120  43 
% of Subscription and SaaS revenue 23  % 21  % 21  %
Cost of subscription and SaaS revenue increased in fiscal 2021 compared to fiscal 2020. The increase was primarily due to increased amortization of intangible assets of $83 million and growth in costs associated with hosted services to support our SaaS offerings of $64 million. The increase was also driven by increased equipment and depreciation of $31 million, as well as growth in cash-based employee-related cost of $16 million, which was driven by incremental growth in headcount and salaries, both organic and through acquisitions.
Cost of Services Revenue
Cost of services revenue primarily includes the costs of personnel and related overhead to deliver technical support for our products and costs to deliver professional services. Additionally, cost of services revenue includes depreciation of equipment supporting our service offerings.
Cost of services revenue during the periods presented was as follows (dollars in millions):
For the Year Ended Fiscal Year Fiscal Year
January 29, January 31, February 1, 2021 vs. 2020 2020 vs. 2019
2021 2020 2019 $ Change % Change $ Change % Change
Cost of services revenue $ 1,193  $ 1,150  $ 1,064  $ 42  % $ 86  %
Stock-based compensation 99  83  58  16  20  25  42 
Total expenses $ 1,292  $ 1,233  $ 1,122  $ 59  $ 111  10 
% of Services revenue 21  % 21  % 21  %
Cost of services revenue increased in fiscal 2021 compared to fiscal 2020. The increase was primarily due to growth in cash-based employee-related expenses of $112 million, primarily driven by incremental growth in headcount and salaries, both organic and through acquisitions. The increase was also driven by increased stock-based compensation of $16 million, primarily driven by increased restricted stock unit awards granted to our employees. These increases were partially offset by decreased travel-related costs of $49 million, resulting from travel restrictions imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as decreased facilities-related costs of $15 million.
Research and Development Expenses
Research and development expenses include the personnel and related overhead associated with the development of our product software and service offerings. We continue to invest in and focus on expanding our subscription and SaaS offerings.
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Research and development expenses during the periods presented were as follows (dollars in millions):
For the Year Ended Fiscal Year Fiscal Year
January 29, January 31, February 1, 2021 vs. 2020 2020 vs. 2019
2021 2020 2019 $ Change % Change $ Change % Change
Research and development $ 2,292  $ 2,063  $ 1,782  $ 228  11  % $ 281  16  %
Stock-based compensation 524  459  391  65  14  68  17 
Total expenses $ 2,816  $ 2,522  $ 2,173  $ 294  12  $ 349  16 
% of Total revenue 24  % 23  % 23  %
Research and development expenses increased in fiscal 2021 compared to fiscal 2020. The increase was primarily due to growth in cash-based employee-related expenses of $237 million, primarily driven by incremental growth in headcount and salaries, both organic and through acquisitions, as well as increased stock-based compensation of $65 million, primarily driven by increased restricted stock unit awards granted to our employees. The increase was also driven by increased equipment and depreciation of $51 million. These increases were partially offset by decreased travel-related costs of $34 million resulting from travel restrictions imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a decrease in capitalized internal-use software development costs of $21 million and facilities-related costs of $13 million.
Sales and Marketing Expenses
Sales and marketing expenses include personnel costs, sales commissions and related overhead associated with the sale and marketing of our license, subscription and SaaS and services offerings, as well as the cost of product launches and marketing initiatives. A significant portion of our sales commissions are deferred and recognized over the expected period of benefit.
Sales and marketing expenses during the periods presented were as follows (dollars in millions):
For the Year Ended Fiscal Year Fiscal Year
January 29, January 31, February 1, 2021 vs. 2020 2020 vs. 2019
2021 2020 2019 $ Change % Change $ Change % Change
Sales and marketing $ 3,389  $ 3,384  $ 3,004  $ —  % $ 377  13  %
Stock-based compensation 322  293  226  28  69  30 
Total expenses $ 3,711  $ 3,677  $ 3,230  $ 34  $ 446  14 
% of Total revenue 32  % 34  % 34  %
Sales and marketing expenses increased in fiscal 2021 compared to fiscal 2020. The increase was primarily due to growth in cash-based employee-related expenses of $154 million, primarily driven by incremental growth in headcount and salaries, both organic and through acquisitions, as well as increased stock-based compensation of $28 million, primarily driven by increased restricted stock unit awards granted to our employees. The increase was also driven by increased equipment and depreciation of $17 million. These increases were partially offset by decreased travel-related costs of $169 million resulting from travel restrictions imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
General and Administrative Expenses
General and administrative expenses include personnel and related overhead costs to support the business. These expenses include the costs associated with finance, human resources, IT infrastructure and legal, as well as expenses related to corporate costs and initiatives.
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General and administrative expenses during the periods presented were as follows (dollars in millions):
For the Year Ended Fiscal Year Fiscal Year
January 29, January 31, February 1, 2021 vs. 2020 2020 vs. 2019
2021 2020 2019 $ Change % Change $ Change % Change
General and administrative $ 610  $ 1,125  $ 729  $ (515) (46) % $ 396  54  %
Stock-based compensation 157  168  117  (11) (6) 51  43 
Total expenses $ 767  $ 1,293  $ 846  $ (526) (41) $ 447  53 
% of Total revenue % 12  % %
General and administrative expenses decreased in fiscal 2021 compared to fiscal 2020. The decrease was primarily driven by a decrease in litigation expenses of $474 million due to the derecognition of accrued litigation loss of $237 million recognized in fiscal 2020 in connection with certain patent litigation, as well as decreased acquisition-related costs of $41 million. The decrease was also driven by decreased travel-related costs of $23 million resulting from travel restrictions imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as decreased equipment and depreciation of $17 million, stock based compensation of $11 million primarily due to departure of certain executives, and third-party professional services costs of $10 million. These decreases were partially offset by growth in cash-based employee-related expenses of $47 million, primarily driven by incremental growth in headcount and salaries, both organic and through acquisitions, as well as an increase in facilities-related cost of $31 million.
Refer to Note E to the consolidated financial statements in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for
a description of certain claims and litigation.
Realignment
Realignment expenses during the periods presented were as follows (dollars in millions):
For the Year Ended Fiscal Year Fiscal Year
January 29, January 31, February 1, 2021 vs. 2020 2020 vs. 2019
2021 2020 2019 $ Change % Change $ Change % Change
Realignment $ 42  $ 79  $ $ (36) (46) % $ 70  777  %
% of Total revenue —  % % —  %
During the third quarter of fiscal 2021, we approved a plan to streamline our operations and better align resources with our business priorities. As a result of this action, approximately 280 positions were eliminated in fiscal 2021. We recognized $42 million of severance-related realignment expenses in fiscal 2021 on the consolidated statements of income. Actions associated with this plan were substantially complete by the end of fiscal 2021.
Actions associated with a plan initiated in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020 were completed during fiscal 2021.
Interest Expense
Interest expense during the periods presented was as follows (dollars in millions):
For the Year Ended Fiscal Year Fiscal Year
January 29, January 31, February 1, 2021 vs. 2020 2020 vs. 2019
2021 2020 2019 $ Change % Change $ Change % Change
Interest expense $ 204  $ 149  $ 134  $ 56  38  % $ 15  11  %
% of Total revenue % % %
Interest expense increased in fiscal 2021 compared to fiscal 2020. The increase was primarily driven by the three series of unsecured senior notes issued during the first quarter of fiscal 2021 in the aggregate amount of $2.0 billion, and the senior unsecured term loan facility entered into during the third quarter of fiscal 2020 (the “Term Loan”) and repaid during the third quarter of fiscal 2021.
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Other Income (Expense), net
Other income (expense), net during the periods presented was as follows (dollars in millions):
For the Year Ended Fiscal Year Fiscal Year
January 29, January 31, February 1, 2021 vs. 2020 2020 vs. 2019
2021 2020 2019 $ Change % Change $ Change % Change
Other income (expense), net $ 191  $ 86  $ (1) $ 107  126  % $ 87  (8,700) %
% of Total revenue % % —  %
The change in other income (expense), net in fiscal 2021 compared to fiscal 2020 was primarily driven by a net unrealized gain of $163 million recognized on one of our investments in equity securities, which completed its initial public offering during the third quarter of fiscal 2021, compared to an unrealized gain of $21 million recognized in fiscal 2020. Additionally, unrealized losses on our investments in privately held companies were $14 million in fiscal 2021, compared to unrealized gains of $16 million in fiscal 2020.
The fair value of the publicly traded investment is determined primarily using the quoted market price of its common stock. As a result, any volatility in its publicly traded common stock introduces a degree of variability to our consolidated statements of income.
Income Tax Provision (Benefit)
The following table summarizes our income tax provision (benefit) during the periods presented (dollars in millions):
For the Year Ended
January 29, January 31, February 1,
2021 2020 2019
Income tax provision (benefit) $ 324  $ (4,918) $ 239 
Effective income tax rate 13.6  % N/M 13.1  %
N/M - Effective tax rate is not considered meaningful.
The change in our effective income tax rate in fiscal 2021 compared to fiscal 2020 was primarily driven by a decrease in discrete tax benefits related to intra-group transfers of certain of our intellectual property rights. During fiscal 2020, a discrete tax benefit of $4.9 billion was recognized with a deferred tax asset due to an intra-group transfer of certain of our intellectual property rights to our Irish subsidiary. During fiscal 2021, a discrete tax benefit of $59 million was recognized with a deferred tax asset due to an intra-group transfer of Pivotal’s intellectual property rights to our Irish subsidiary. The change was also driven by a decrease in excess tax benefits recognized, which were $41 million in fiscal 2021 compared to $182 million in fiscal 2020.
We are included in Dell’s consolidated tax group for U.S. federal income tax purposes and will continue to be included in Dell’s consolidated tax group for periods in which Dell beneficially owns at least 80% of the total voting power and value of our combined outstanding Class A and Class B common stock as calculated for U.S. federal income tax purposes. The percentage of voting power and value calculated for U.S. federal income tax purposes may differ from the percentage of outstanding shares beneficially owned by Dell due to the greater voting power of our Class B common stock as compared to our Class A common stock and other factors. Each member of a consolidated tax group during any part of a consolidated return year is jointly and severally liable for tax on the consolidated return of such year and for any subsequently determined deficiency thereon. Should Dell’s ownership fall below 80% of the total voting power or value of our outstanding stock in any period, then we would no longer be included in the Dell consolidated tax group for U.S. federal income tax purposes, and our U.S. federal income tax would be reported separately from that of the Dell consolidated tax group.
Although our results are included in the Dell consolidated return for U.S. federal income tax purposes, our income tax provision or benefit is calculated primarily as though we were a separate taxpayer. However, under certain circumstances, transactions between us and Dell are assessed using consolidated tax return rules.
During the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020, we completed the acquisition of Pivotal. Pivotal will continue to file its separate tax return for U.S. federal income tax purposes as it left the Dell consolidated tax group at the time of Pivotal’s initial public offering (“IPO”) in April 2018.
Our effective tax rate in the future will depend upon the proportion of our income before provision for income taxes earned in the U.S. and in jurisdictions with a tax rate lower than the U.S. statutory rate. Our non-U.S. earnings are primarily earned by
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our subsidiary organized in Ireland, where the rate of taxation is lower than our U.S. tax rate, and as such, our annual effective tax rate can be significantly affected by the composition of our earnings in the U.S. and non-U.S. jurisdictions. Our future effective tax rate may be affected by such factors as changes in tax laws, changes in our business or statutory rates, changing interpretation of existing laws or regulations, the impact of accounting for stock-based compensation and the recognition of excess tax benefits or tax deficiencies within the income tax provision or benefit in the period in which they occur, the impact of accounting for business combinations, our acquisition of Pivotal, which was accounted for as a common control transaction, shifts in the amount of earnings in the U.S. compared with other regions in the world and overall levels of income before tax, changes in our international organization, as well as the expiration of statute of limitations and settlements of audits.
Our Relationship with Dell
The information provided below includes a summary of transactions with Dell and Dell’s consolidated subsidiaries (collectively, “Dell”).
Transactions with Dell
We engaged with Dell in the following ongoing related party transactions, which resulted in revenue and receipts, and unearned revenue for us:
Pursuant to OEM and reseller arrangements, Dell integrates or bundles our products and services with Dell’s products and sells them to end users. Dell also acts as a distributor, purchasing our standalone products and services for resale to end-user customers through VMware-authorized resellers. Revenue under these arrangements is presented net of related marketing development funds and rebates paid to Dell. In addition, we provide professional services to end users based upon contractual agreements with Dell.
Dell purchases products and services from us for its internal use.
From time to time, we and Dell enter into agreements to collaborate on technology projects, and Dell pays us for services or reimburses us for costs incurred by us, in connection with such projects.
During the years ended January 29, 2021, January 31, 2020 and February 1, 2019, revenue from Dell accounted for 35%, 31% and 25% of our consolidated revenue, respectively. During the years ended January 29, 2021, January 31, 2020 and February 1, 2019, revenue recognized on transactions where Dell acted as an OEM accounted for 12%, 12% and 13% of revenue from Dell, respectively, or 4%, 4% and 3% of our consolidated revenue, respectively.
Dell purchases our products and services directly from us, as well as through our channel partners. Information about our revenue and receipts, and unearned revenue from such arrangements, for the periods presented consisted of the following (table in millions):
Revenue and Receipts Unearned Revenue
For the Year Ended As of
January 29, January 31, February 1, January 29, January 31,
2021 2020 2019 2021 2020
Reseller revenue $ 4,053  $ 3,288  $ 2,355  $ 4,952  $ 3,787 
Internal-use revenue 63  82  41  45  57 
Collaborative technology project receipts 13  10   n/a  n/a
Sales through Dell as a distributor, which is included in reseller revenue, continues to grow rapidly.
Customer deposits resulting from transactions with Dell were $214 million and $194 million as of January 29, 2021 and January 31, 2020, respectively.
We engaged with Dell in the following ongoing related party transactions, which resulted in costs to us:
We purchase and lease products and purchase services from Dell.
From time to time, we and Dell enter into agreements to collaborate on technology projects, and we pay Dell for services provided to us by Dell related to such projects.
In certain geographic regions where we do not have an established legal entity, we contract with Dell subsidiaries for support services and support from Dell personnel who are managed by us. The costs incurred by Dell on our behalf related to these employees are charged to us with a mark-up intended to approximate costs that would have been incurred had we contracted for such services with an unrelated third party. These costs are included as expenses on our consolidated statements of income and primarily include salaries, benefits, travel and occupancy expenses. Dell also
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incurs certain administrative costs on our behalf in the U.S. that are recorded as expenses on our consolidated statements of income.
In certain geographic regions, Dell files a consolidated indirect tax return, which includes value added taxes and other indirect taxes collected by us from our customers. We remit the indirect taxes to Dell, and Dell remits the tax payment to the foreign governments on our behalf.
From time to time, we invoice end users on behalf of Dell for certain services rendered by Dell. Cash related to these services is collected from the end user by us and remitted to Dell.
From time to time, we enter into agency arrangements with Dell that enable us to sell our subscriptions and services, leveraging the Dell enterprise relationships and end customer contracts.
Information about our payments for such arrangements during the periods presented consisted of the following (table in millions):
For the Year Ended
January 29, January 31, February 1,
2021 2020 2019
Purchases and leases of products and purchases of services(1)
$ 206  $ 242  $ 200 
Dell subsidiary support and administrative costs 74  119  145 
(1) Amount includes indirect taxes that were remitted to Dell during the periods presented.
We also purchase Dell products through Dell’s channel partners. Purchases of Dell products through Dell’s channel partners were not significant during the periods presented.
From time to time, we and Dell also enter into joint marketing, sales, branding and product development arrangements, for which both parties may incur costs.
During the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020, we entered into an arrangement with Dell to transfer approximately 250 professional services employees from Dell to us. These employees are experienced in providing professional services that deliver our technology and this transfer centralizes these resources within our Company in order to serve our customers more efficiently and effectively. The transfer was substantially completed during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020 and did not have a material impact to the consolidated financial statements. We also expect that Dell will continue to resell our consulting solutions.
During the third quarter of fiscal 2019, we acquired technology and employees related to the Dell EMC Service Assurance Suite, which provides root cause analysis management software for communications service providers, from Dell. The purchase of the Dell EMC Service Assurance Suite was accounted for as a transaction by entities under common control. The amount of the purchase price in excess of the historical cost of the acquired assets was recognized as a reduction to retained earnings on the consolidated balance sheets. Transition services provided by Dell over a period of 18 months, starting from the date of the acquisition, were not significant.
Dell Financial Services
DFS provided financing to certain of our end users at our end users’ discretion. Upon acceptance of the financing arrangement by both our end users and DFS, amounts classified as trade accounts receivable are reclassified to due from related parties, net on the consolidated balance sheets. Revenue recognized on transactions financed through DFS was recorded net of financing fees. Financing fees on arrangements accepted by both parties were $60 million, $66 million and $40 million during the years ended January 29, 2021, January 31, 2020 and February 1, 2019, respectively.
Due To/From Related Parties, Net
Amounts due to and from related parties, net as of the periods presented consisted of the following (table in millions):
January 29, January 31,
2021 2020
Due from related parties, current $ 1,558  $ 1,618 
Due to related parties, current(1)
120  161 
Due from related parties, net, current $ 1,438  $ 1,457 
(1) Includes an immaterial amount related to our current operating lease liabilities due to related parties.
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We also recognized an immaterial amount related to non-current operating lease liabilities due to related parties. This amount has been included in operating lease liabilities on the consolidated balance sheets as of January 29, 2021 and January 31, 2020.
Amounts in due from related parties, net, excluding DFS and tax obligations, include the current portion of amounts due to and due from related parties. Amounts included in due from related parties, net are generally settled in cash within 60 days of each quarter-end.
Special Dividend
On July 1, 2018, VMware’s board of directors declared a conditional $11.0 billion Special Dividend, payable pro-rata to VMware stockholders as of the record date. The Special Dividend was paid on December 28, 2018 to stockholders of record as of the close of business on December 27, 2018 in the amount of $26.81 per outstanding share of VMware common stock. Dell was paid approximately $9.0 billion in cash as a result of its financial interest in VMware’s common stock as of the record date.
The Special Dividend was paid in connection with the closing of a transaction by Dell pursuant to which holders of Dell Class V common stock, which was designed to track the economic performance of VMware, exchanged the Dell Class V common stock for Dell Class C common stock or cash or both, resulting in the elimination of the Dell Class V common stock. Refer to Note Q to the consolidated financial statements in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for more information.
Notes Payable to Dell
As of January 29, 2021 and January 31, 2020, we had an outstanding promissory note payable to Dell in the principal amount of $270 million due December 1, 2022. The note may be prepaid without penalty or premium. Interest is payable quarterly in arrears at the annual rate of 1.75%. During each of the years ended January 29, 2021, January 31, 2020 and February 1, 2019, interest expense on the notes payable to Dell was not significant.
Other Related Party Transactions
Prior to the acquisition of Pivotal, certain members of Pivotal’s board of directors were executives of Ford Motor Company (“Ford”) and General Electric Company (“GE”), and these companies were customers of Pivotal. Revenue recognized from sales to Ford while it was a related party was not significant during the year ended January 31, 2020 and was $12 million during the year ended February 1, 2019. During the year ended February 1, 2019, revenue recognized from sales to GE while it was a related party was not significant. Subsequent to fiscal 2019, GE was no longer a related party. Subsequent to our acquisition of Pivotal, Ford was no longer a related party.
Liquidity and Capital Resources
As of the periods presented, we held cash and cash equivalents as follows (table in millions):
  January 29, January 31,
2021 2020
Cash and cash equivalents $ 4,692  $ 2,915 
Short-term investments 23  — 
Total cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments $ 4,715  $ 2,915 
Cash equivalents primarily consisted of amounts invested in money market funds. We limit the amount of our investments with any single issuer and monitor the diversity of the portfolio and the amount of investments held at any single financial institution, thereby diversifying our credit risk.
We continue to expect that cash generated by operations will be our primary source of liquidity. We also continue to believe that existing cash, cash equivalents and our borrowing capacity, together with any cash generated from operations, will be sufficient to fund our operations for at least the next twelve months. While we believe these cash sources will be sufficient to fund our operations, our overall level of cash needs may be affected by capital allocation decisions that may include the number and size of acquisitions and stock repurchases, among other things. We remain committed to a balanced capital allocation policy through investing in our product and solution offerings, acquisitions and returning capital to stockholders through share repurchases. Additionally, given the unpredictable nature of our outstanding legal proceedings, an unfavorable resolution of one or more legal proceedings, claims, or investigations could have a negative impact on our overall liquidity. 
On July 15, 2020, Dell announced that it is exploring potential alternatives with respect to its ownership interest in VMware, including a potential Spin-Off. VMware has formed a Special Committee to evaluate and engage in discussions and negotiations with Dell with respect to any proposal that may be made by Dell with respect to a Spin-off. As part of the discussions, VMware expects that it may negotiate with Dell the payment of a special cash dividend by VMware, which would
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be paid on a pro rata basis to all VMware stockholders that VMware might fund, in part, through the incurrence of additional indebtedness.
The 2017 Tax Act imposed a Transition Tax and eliminated U.S. Federal taxes on foreign subsidiary distributions. The Transition Tax was calculated on a separate tax return basis. Our unpaid liabilities related to the Transition Tax as of January 29, 2021 was $564 million, which we expect to pay over the next five years pursuant to a letter agreement between Dell, EMC and VMware executed during the first quarter of fiscal 2020. Actual tax payments made to Dell pursuant to the tax sharing agreement may differ materially from our total estimated tax liability calculated on a separate tax return basis. The difference between our estimated liability and the amount paid to Dell is recognized as a component of additional paid-in capital, generally in the period in which the consolidated tax return is filed.
Our cash flows summarized for the periods presented were as follows (table in millions):
For the Year Ended
  January 29, January 31, February 1,
  2021 2020 2019
Net cash provided by (used in):
Operating activities $ 4,409  $ 3,872  $ 3,657 
Investing activities (713) (2,728) 4,442 
Financing activities (1,957) (1,707) (10,580)
Effect of exchange rate changes on cash, cash equivalents, and restricted cash —  (2)
Net increase (decrease) in cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash $ 1,739  $ (565) $ (2,480)
Operating Activities
Cash provided by operating activities increased by $537 million during fiscal 2021 compared to fiscal 2020, primarily driven by an increase in cash collections due to increased sales, as well as lower payments associated with lower travel spending due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These activities were partially offset by an increase in cash payments for employee-related expenses, including salaries and commissions, resulting primarily from growth in headcount, as well as increased tax payments during fiscal 2021.
Investing Activities
Cash used in investing activities decreased by $2.0 billion during fiscal 2021 compared to fiscal 2020, primarily driven by a decrease in cash used in business combinations.
Financing Activities
Cash used in financing activities increased by $250 million during fiscal 2021 compared to fiscal 2020. The increase was driven primarily by the repayment of the $1.5 billion Term Loan during fiscal 2021, as well as the redemption of the $1.3 billion unsecured senior note due August 21, 2020. These activities were partially offset by the net cash proceeds received from the issuance of long-term debt of $2.0 billion during fiscal 2021, as well as the cash payment for the acquisition of Pivotal during fiscal 2020 and a decrease of $389 million in repurchases of shares of our Class A common stock during fiscal 2021.
Unsecured Senior Notes
The following table summarizes the principal on our two series of unsecured senior notes issued August 21, 2017 and our three series of unsecured senior notes issued April 7, 2020 (collectively, the “Senior Notes”) as of January 29, 2021 (amounts in millions):
Senior Notes issued August 21, 2017:
2.95% Senior Note Due August 21, 2022 $ 1,500 
3.90% Senior Note Due August 21, 2027 1,250 
Senior Notes issued April 7, 2020:
4.50% Senior Note Due May 15, 2025 750 
4.65% Senior Note Due May 15, 2027 500 
4.70% Senior Note Due May 15, 2030 750 
Total principal amount $ 4,750 
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Interest on the Senior Notes issued on April 7, 2020 is payable semiannually in arrears, on May 15 and November 15 of each year, beginning November 15, 2020. The interest rate on each note issued on April 7, 2020 is subject to adjustment based on certain rating events. Interest on the Senior Notes issued on August 21, 2017 is payable semiannually in arrears, on February 21 and August 21 of each year. During the years ended January 29, 2021, January 31, 2020 and February 1, 2019, $114 million, $122 million and $122 million, respectively, was paid for interest related to the Senior Notes.
The Senior Notes also contain restrictive covenants that, in certain circumstances, limit our ability to create certain liens, to enter into certain sale and leaseback transactions and to consolidate, merge, sell or otherwise dispose of all or substantially all of our assets.
On May 11, 2020, we exercised a make-whole call and redeemed the $1.3 billion unsecured senior note due August 21, 2020 at a premium. We intend to use the remaining net proceeds of the Senior Notes for general corporate purposes, including mergers and acquisitions, repayment of other indebtedness or stock repurchases.
Revolving Credit Facility
On September 12, 2017, we entered into an unsecured credit agreement establishing a revolving credit facility with a syndicate of lenders that provides us with a borrowing capacity of up to $1.0 billion, for general corporate purposes. The credit agreement contains certain representations, warranties and covenants. Commitments under the revolving credit facility are available for a period of five years, which may be extended, subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions, by up to two one-year periods. As of January 29, 2021 and January 31, 2020, there was no outstanding borrowing under the revolving credit facility.
Senior Unsecured Term Loan Facility
On September 26, 2019, we entered into the Term Loan with a syndicate of lenders that provided us with a borrowing capacity of up to $2.0 billion through February 7, 2020, for general corporate purposes. During the third quarter of fiscal 2021, we repaid the outstanding balance of $1.5 billion on the Term Loan.
Note Payable to Dell
Refer to “Our Relationship with Dell” in “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” in Part II, Item 7 for disclosure regarding our note payable to Dell.
Stock Repurchase Program
From time to time, we repurchase stock pursuant to authorized stock repurchase programs in open market transactions as permitted by securities laws and other legal requirements. We are not obligated to purchase any shares under our stock repurchase programs. The timing of any repurchases and the actual number of shares repurchased depends on a variety of factors, including our stock price, cash requirements for operations and business combinations, corporate and regulatory requirements and other market and economic conditions. Purchases may be discontinued at any time we believe additional purchases are not warranted. From time to time, we also purchase stock in private transactions, such as with Dell. All shares repurchased under our stock repurchase programs are retired.
Refer to Note Q to the consolidated financial statements in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for stock repurchase authorizations approved by our board of directors for the periods presented.
Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements and Contractual Obligations
Guarantees and Indemnification Obligations
We enter into agreements in the ordinary course of business with, among others, customers, distributors, resellers, system vendors and systems integrators. Most of these agreements require us to indemnify the other party against third-party claims alleging that one of our products infringes or misappropriates a patent, copyright, trademark, trade secret or other intellectual property right. Certain of these agreements require us to indemnify the other party against certain claims relating to property damage, personal injury, or the acts or omissions by us and our employees, agents or representatives.
We have agreements with certain vendors, financial institutions, lessors and service providers pursuant to which we have agreed to indemnify the other party for specified matters, such as acts and omissions by us and our employees, agents, or representatives.
We have procurement or license agreements with respect to technology that we have obtained the right to use in our products and agreements. Under some of these agreements, we have agreed to indemnify the supplier for certain claims that may be brought against such party with respect to our acts or omissions relating to the supplied products or technologies.
We have agreed to indemnify our directors and executive officers, to the extent legally permissible, against all liabilities reasonably incurred in connection with any action in which such individual may be involved by reason of such individual being
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or having been a director or officer. Our by-laws and charter also provide for indemnification of our directors and officers to the extent legally permissible, against all liabilities reasonably incurred in connection with any action in which such individual may be involved by reason of such individual being or having been a director or executive officer. We also indemnify certain employees who provide service with respect to employee benefits plans, including, for example, the members of the Administrative Committee of the VMware 401(k) Plan, and employees who serve as directors or officers of our subsidiaries.
In connection with certain acquisitions, we have agreed to indemnify the former directors and officers of the acquired company in accordance with the acquired company’s by-laws and charter in effect immediately prior to the acquisition or in accordance with indemnification or similar agreements entered into by the acquired company and such persons. We typically purchase a “tail” directors and officers insurance policy, which should enable us to recover a portion of any future indemnification obligations related to the former directors and officers of an acquired company.
We are unable to determine the maximum potential amount under these indemnification agreements due to our limited history with prior indemnification claims and the unique facts and circumstances involved in each situation. Historically, costs related to these indemnification provisions have not been significant.
Contractual Obligations
We have various contractual obligations impacting our liquidity. The following represents our contractual obligations as of January 29, 2021 (table in millions): 
  Payments Due by Period
  Total Less than 1 year 1-3 years 3-5 years More than 5 years
Senior Notes(1)
$ 5,818  $ 186  $ 1,826  $ 1,015  $ 2,791 
Note payable to Dell(2)
279  274  —  — 
Future Lease Commitments(3)
1,347  147  315  207  678 
Purchase obligations 1,017  391  625  — 
Tax obligations(4)
564  59  171  334  — 
Asset Retirement Obligations 23  12 
Sub-Total 9,048  791  3,214  1,569  3,474 
Uncertain tax positions(5)
508 
Total $ 9,556 
(1)Consists of principal and interest payments on the Senior Notes. Refer to “Liquidity and Capital Resources” for a discussion of the public debt offering we issued on August 21, 2017 and April 7, 2020 in the aggregate principal amount of $4.8 billion as of January 29, 2021.
(2)Consists of principal and interest payments on the outstanding note payable to Dell. Refer to “Liquidity and Capital Resources” for a discussion of the $270 million note payable we entered into with Dell per the note exchange agreement from January 21, 2014.
(3)Consists of both operating and finance leases. Our operating leases are primarily for facility space and land. Amounts in the table above exclude legally binding minimum lease payments for leases signed but not yet commenced of $72 million, as well as expected sublease income.
(4)Consists of future cash payments related to the Transition Tax.
(5)As of January 29, 2021, we had $508 million of gross uncertain tax benefits, excluding interest and penalties. The timing of future payments relating to these obligations is highly uncertain. Based on the timing and outcome of examinations of our subsidiaries, the result of the expiration of statutes of limitations for specific jurisdictions or the timing and result of ruling requests from taxing authorities, it is reasonably possible that within the next 12 months total unrecognized tax benefits could be potentially reduced by approximately $14 million.
Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates
In preparing our consolidated financial statements in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (“GAAP”), we are required to make estimates, assumptions and judgments that affect the amounts reported on our financial statements and the accompanying disclosures. Estimates and assumptions about future events and their effects cannot be determined with certainty and therefore require the exercise of judgment. We base our estimates, assumptions and judgments on historical experience and various other factors that we believe to be reasonable under the circumstances. These estimates may change in future periods and will be recognized in the consolidated financial statements as new events occur and additional information becomes known. Actual results could differ from those estimates and any such differences
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may be material to our financial statements. We believe that the critical accounting policies and estimates set forth below involve a higher degree of judgment and complexity in their application than our other significant accounting policies. Our senior management has reviewed our critical accounting policies and related disclosures with the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors. Historically, our assumptions, judgments and estimates relative to our critical accounting policies have not differed materially from actual results. Refer to Note A to the consolidated financial statements in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for information on significant accounting policies and estimates used in the preparation of the consolidated financial statements.
As the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, estimates and assumptions about future events and their effects cannot be determined with certainty and therefore require increased judgment. These estimates and assumptions may change in future periods and will be recognized in the consolidated financial statements as new events occur and additional information becomes known. To the extent our actual results differ materially from those estimates and assumptions, our future financial statements could be affected.
Revenue Recognition
We derive revenue primarily from licensing software under perpetual licenses or consumption-based contracts and related software maintenance and support, software subscriptions (“subscriptions”), hosted services, training and consulting services. We account for a contract with a customer if all criteria defined by the guidance are met, including collectibility of consideration is probable. At inception of a contract with a customer, we evaluate whether the promised products and services represent distinct performance obligations within the context of the contract. Performance obligations that are both capable of being distinct on their own and distinct within the context of the contract are recognized on their own as distinct performance obligations. Performance obligations under which both of these two criteria are not met are recognized as a combined, single performance obligation. Determining whether our licenses, subscriptions and services are considered distinct performance obligations that should be accounted for separately or together often involves assumptions and significant judgments that can have a significant impact on the timing and amount of revenue recognized.
Revenue is recognized upon transfer of control of licenses, subscription or services to our customer in an amount that reflects the consideration we expect to receive in exchange for those licenses, subscriptions or services. Control of a promised license, subscription or service may be transferred to a customer either at a point in time or over time, which affects the timing of revenue recognition. Licenses that represent distinct performance obligations are recognized at a point in time when the software license keys have been made available to the customer. Licenses sold as part of our subscriptions that do not represent distinct performance obligations are recognized over time along with the associated services that form a combined performance obligation with the software. Management assesses relevant contractual terms in contracts with customers and applies significant judgment in identifying and accounting for all terms and conditions in certain contracts.
In addition, revenue from on-premises license software sold to OEMs is recognized when the sale to the end user occurs. Revenue is recognized upon reporting by the OEMs of their sales, and for the period where information of the underlying sales has not been made available, revenue is recognized based upon estimated sales. Our VCPP partners license on-premises software from us on a monthly basis under a usage-based model. Revenue recognition is based on fees associated with reported license consumption by the VCPP partners and includes estimates for the period when consumption information has not been made available. Certain contracts include third-party offerings and revenue may be recognized net of the third-party costs, based upon an assessment as to whether we had control of the underlying third-party offering.
We enter into revenue contracts with multiple performance obligations in which a customer may purchase combinations of licenses, maintenance and support, subscriptions, hosted services, training, consulting services, and rights to future products and services. For contracts with multiple performance obligations, we allocate total transaction value to the identified underlying performance obligations based on relative standalone selling price (“SSP”). We typically estimate SSP of services based on observable transactions when the services are sold on a standalone basis and those prices fall within a reasonable range. We utilize the residual approach to estimate SSP for products or services sold to customers due to highly variable pricing. Changes in assumptions or judgments used in determining standalone selling price could have a significant impact on the timing and amount of revenue we report in a particular period.
Professional services include design, implementation, training and consulting services. Professional services performed by us represent distinct performance obligations as they do not modify or customize licenses sold. These services are not highly interdependent or highly interrelated to licenses sold such that a customer would not be able to use the licenses without the professional services. Revenue from professional services engagements performed for a fixed fee, for which we are able to make reasonably dependable estimates of progress toward completion, is recognized based on progress. We believe this method of measurement provides the closest depiction of our performance in transferring control of the professional services.
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Rebate Reserves
We offer rebates to certain channel partners, which are recognized as a reduction to revenue or unearned revenue. Rebates based on actual partner sales are recognized as a reduction to revenue as the underlying revenue is recognized. Rebates earned based upon partner achievement of cumulative level of sales are recognized as a reduction of revenue proportionally for each sale that is required to achieve the target.
The estimated reserves for channel rebates and sales incentives are based on channel partners’ actual performance against the terms and conditions of the programs, historical trends and the value of the rebates. The accuracy of these reserves for these rebates and sales incentives depends on our ability to estimate these items and could have a significant impact on the timing and amount of revenue we report.
Deferred Commissions
Sales commissions, including the employer portion of payroll taxes, earned by our sales force are considered incremental and recoverable costs of obtaining a contract, and are deferred and generally amortized on a straight-line basis over the expected period of benefit. The expected period of benefit is generally determined using the contract term or underlying technology life, if renewals are expected and the renewal commissions are not commensurate with the initial commissions. The determination of the expected period of benefit requires us to make significant estimates and assumptions, including the life of the underlying technology and the estimated period of contract renewal. We believe the assumptions and estimates we have made are reasonable. Differences in the estimated period of benefit could have a significant impact on the timing and amount of amortization expense recognized.
Accounting for Income Taxes
We are included in Dell’s consolidated tax group for U.S. federal income tax purposes and will continue to be included in Dell’s consolidated group for periods in which Dell beneficially owns at least 80% of the total voting power and value of our combined outstanding Class A and Class B common stock as calculated for U.S. federal income tax purposes. The percentage of voting power and value calculated for U.S. federal income tax purposes may differ from the percentage of outstanding shares beneficially owned by Dell due to the greater voting power of our Class B common stock as compared to our Class A common stock and other factors. Each member of a consolidated group during any part of a consolidated return year is jointly and severally liable for tax on the consolidated return of such year and for any subsequently determined deficiency thereon.
During the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020, we completed the acquisition of Pivotal. Pivotal will continue to file its separate tax return for U.S. federal income tax purposes as it has since left the Dell consolidated tax group at the time of Pivotal’s IPO in April 2018.
Our income tax expense and the related income tax balance sheet accounts is calculated primarily as though we were a separate taxpayer. However, under certain circumstances, transactions between us and Dell are assessed using consolidated tax return rules. The difference between the income taxes payable that is calculated on a separate tax return basis and the amount paid to Dell pursuant to our tax sharing agreement with Dell is presented as a component of additional paid-in capital, generally in the period in which the consolidated return is filed. Our assumptions, judgments and estimates used to calculate our income tax expense considers current tax laws, our interpretation of current tax laws and possible outcomes of current and future audits conducted by foreign and domestic tax authorities.
We establish reserves for income taxes to address potential exposures involving tax positions that could be challenged by federal, state and foreign tax authorities, which may result in proposed assessments. In the ordinary course of our global business there are many intercompany transactions, including the transfer of intellectual property, where the ultimate tax determination could be challenged by the tax authorities. In the instance of transfers of intellectual property, the related deferred tax asset recognized is based on the intellectual property’s current fair value. Management applies significant judgment when determining the fair value of the intellectual property, which serves as the tax basis of the deferred tax asset, and in evaluating the associated tax laws in the applicable jurisdictions. Our assumptions, estimates, and judgments used to determine the reserve relating to these positions considers current tax laws, interpretation of current tax laws and possible outcomes of current and future examinations conducted by tax authorities. As part of the Dell consolidated group, and separately, we are subject to the periodic examination of our income tax returns by the IRS and other domestic and foreign tax authorities. We regularly assess the likelihood of outcomes resulting from these examinations to determine the adequacy of our reserves and any potential adjustments that may result from the current and future examinations. We believe such estimates to be reasonable; however, the final determination from examinations and changes in tax laws could significantly impact the amounts provided for income taxes in the consolidated financial statements.
Our deferred tax assets reflect our estimates of the amount and category of future taxable income, such as income from operations and capital gains, and also take into account valuation allowances that consider other key factors that might restrict
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our ability to realize the deferred tax assets. Actual operating results and the underlying amount and category of income in future years could render our current assumptions, judgments and estimates of recoverable net deferred taxes inaccurate.
Business Combinations
We allocate the purchase price of acquirees to the identifiable assets acquired, the liabilities assumed, and any noncontrolling interests in an acquiree, which are measured based on the acquisition date fair value. Goodwill is measured as the excess of consideration transferred over the net amounts of the identifiable tangible and intangible assets acquired and the liabilities assumed at the acquisition date.
The allocation of the purchase price requires us to make significant estimates and assumptions to determine the fair value of assets acquired and liabilities assumed and the related useful lives of the acquired assets, when applicable, as of the acquisition date. Although we believe the assumptions and estimates we have made are reasonable, they are based in part on historical experience and information obtained from the management of the acquired companies and are inherently uncertain. Examples of critical estimates used in valuing certain of the intangible assets we have acquired or may acquire in the future include but are not limited to:
future expected cash flows from sales, maintenance agreements and acquired developed technologies;
the acquired company’s trade name and customer relationships as well as assumptions about the period of time the acquired trade name and customer relationships will continue to be used in the combined company’s product portfolio; and
discount rates used to determine the present value of estimated future cash flows.
These estimates are inherently uncertain and unpredictable, and if different estimates were used the purchase price for the acquisition could be allocated to the acquired assets and liabilities differently from the allocation that we have made. Additionally, unanticipated events and circumstances may occur, which may affect the accuracy or validity of such assumptions, estimates or actual results.
ITEM 7A.    QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK
Foreign Exchange Risk
We operate in foreign countries, which expose us to market risk associated with foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations between the U.S. dollar and various foreign currencies, the most significant of which is the euro.
Although approximately 70% of our sales are denominated in the U.S. dollar, we also invoice and collect in various foreign currencies, principally euro, the British pound, the Japanese yen, the Australian dollar and the Chinese renminbi.
The U.S. dollar is the functional currency for the majority of VMware’s foreign subsidiaries. At the time a non-U.S. dollar transaction is recorded, the value of the transaction is converted into U.S. dollars at the exchange rate in effect for the month in which each order is booked. As a result, the amount of revenue derived from these transactions will be impacted by foreign currency exchange fluctuations.
Additionally, a portion of our operating expenses, primarily the cost of personnel to deliver technical support on our products, SaaS offerings and professional services, sales and sales support and research and development, are denominated in foreign currencies, primarily those currencies in which we also invoice and collect. As exchange rates vary, operating results may differ materially from expectations.
To manage the risk associated with fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates, we utilize derivative financial instruments, principally foreign currency forward contracts (“forward contracts”), as described below.
Cash Flow Hedging Activities. To mitigate our exposure to foreign currency fluctuations resulting from certain operating expenses denominated in certain foreign currencies, we enter into forward contracts annually, which have maturities of twelve months or less. As of January 29, 2021 and January 31, 2020, we had outstanding forward contracts with a total notional value of $486 million and $480 million, respectively. The fair value of these forward contracts was not significant as of January 29, 2021 and January 31, 2020.
Forward Contracts Not Designated as Hedges. We enter into forward contracts to offset the foreign currency risk associated with net outstanding monetary asset and liability positions that are traded on a monthly basis and generally have a contractual term of one month. As of January 29, 2021 and January 31, 2020, we had outstanding forward contracts with a total notional value of $1.2 billion and $1.1 billion, respectively. The fair value of these forward contracts was not significant as of January 29, 2021 and January 31, 2020.
Sensitivity Analysis. There can be no assurance that our hedging activities will adequately protect us against the risks associated with foreign currency fluctuations. A hypothetical adverse foreign currency exchange rate movement of 10% would
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have resulted in a potential loss of $173 million in the fair value of our forward contracts as of January 29, 2021. This sensitivity analysis is based on the notional value of our outstanding forward contracts as of January 29, 2021 and disregards any offsetting gain that may be associated with the underlying foreign-currency denominated assets and liabilities that we hedge.
This analysis also assumes a parallel adverse shift of all foreign currency exchange rates against the U.S. dollar; however, foreign currency exchange rates do not always move in such a manner and actual results may differ materially. We do not, and do not intend to use derivative financial instruments for trading or speculative purposes. Refer to Note L to the consolidated financial statements in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for further information.
Equity Price Risk
Strategic Investments
Our strategic investments include privately held companies that are considered to be in the start-up or development stages and are inherently risky. The technologies or products these companies have under development are typically in the early stages and may never materialize, which could result in a loss of a substantial part of our initial investment in these companies. We account for these investments at cost less impairment, if any, adjusted for observable price changes in orderly transactions for the identical or a similar security of the same issuer. The evaluation is based on information provided by these companies, which is not subject to the same disclosure regulations as U.S. publicly traded companies, and as such, the basis for these evaluations is subject to the timing and accuracy of the data provided. The carrying value of VMware’s strategic investments was $129 million and $134 million as of January 29, 2021 and January 31, 2020, respectively.
Marketable Equity Securities
Our equity investment in a publicly traded company is subject to market price risk. As of January 29, 2021, the fair value of our investment in equity securities, which begun publicly trading on September 16, 2020, was $162 million. Accordingly, a fluctuation in the price of the equity security could have an adverse impact on the fair value of our investment. A hypothetical adverse price change of 10% would have resulted in a potential decrease of $16 million in the fair value of our marketable equity security as of January 29, 2021. Refer to Notes I and K to the consolidated financial statements in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for further information.
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ITEM 8.    FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA
VMware, Inc.
INDEX TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SCHEDULE
59
61
62
63
64
65
66
Schedule:
115
Note: All other financial statement schedules are omitted because they are not applicable or the required information is included on the consolidated financial statements or notes thereto.
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REPORT OF INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM

To the Board of Directors and Stockholders of VMware, Inc.

Opinions on the Financial Statements and Internal Control over Financial Reporting

We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets of VMware, Inc. and its subsidiaries (the “Company”) as of January 29, 2021 and January 31, 2020, and the related consolidated statements of income, of comprehensive income, of stockholders’ equity and of cash flows for each of the three years in the period ended January 29, 2021, including the related notes and financial statement schedule listed in the accompanying index (collectively referred to as the “consolidated financial statements”). We also have audited the Company's internal control over financial reporting as of January 29, 2021, based on criteria established in Internal Control - Integrated Framework (2013) issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO).

In our opinion, the consolidated financial statements referred to above present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Company as of January 29, 2021 and January 31, 2020, and the results of its operations and its cash flows for each of the three years in the period ended January 29, 2021 in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America. Also in our opinion, the Company maintained, in all material respects, effective internal control over financial reporting as of January 29, 2021, based on criteria established in Internal Control - Integrated Framework (2013) issued by the COSO.

Change in Accounting Principle

As discussed in Note A to the consolidated financial statements, the Company changed the manner in which it accounts for leases effective February 2, 2019.

Basis for Opinions

The Company's management is responsible for these consolidated financial statements, for maintaining effective internal control over financial reporting, and for its assessment of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting, included in Management’s Annual Report on Internal Control over Financial Reporting appearing under Item 9A. Our responsibility is to express opinions on the Company’s consolidated financial statements and on the Company's internal control over financial reporting based on our audits. We are a public accounting firm registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (PCAOB) and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.

We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audits to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the consolidated financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud, and whether effective internal control over financial reporting was maintained in all material respects.

Our audits of the consolidated financial statements included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the consolidated financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the consolidated financial statements. Our audits also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the consolidated financial statements. Our audit of internal control over financial reporting included obtaining an understanding of internal control over financial reporting, assessing the risk that a material weakness exists, and testing and evaluating the design and operating effectiveness of internal control based on the assessed risk. Our audits also included performing such other procedures as we considered necessary in the circumstances. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinions.

Definition and Limitations of Internal Control over Financial Reporting

A company’s internal control over financial reporting is a process designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. A company’s internal control over financial reporting includes those policies and procedures
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that (i) pertain to the maintenance of records that, in reasonable detail, accurately and fairly reflect the transactions and dispositions of the assets of the company; (ii) provide reasonable assurance that transactions are recorded as necessary to permit preparation of financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, and that receipts and expenditures of the company are being made only in accordance with authorizations of management and directors of the company; and (iii) provide reasonable assurance regarding prevention or timely detection of unauthorized acquisition, use, or disposition of the company’s assets that could have a material effect on the financial statements.

Because of its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements. Also, projections of any evaluation of effectiveness to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or that the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures may deteriorate.
Critical Audit Matters
The critical audit matter communicated below is a matter arising from the current period audit of the consolidated financial statements that was communicated or required to be communicated to the audit committee and that (i) relates to accounts or disclosures that are material to the consolidated financial statements and (ii) involved our especially challenging, subjective, or complex judgments. The communication of critical audit matters does not alter in any way our opinion on the consolidated financial statements, taken as a whole, and we are not, by communicating the critical audit matter below, providing a separate opinion on the critical audit matter or on the accounts or disclosures to which it relates.

Revenue Recognition — Identifying and Evaluating Terms and Conditions in Contracts

As described in Note A to the consolidated financial statements, the Company derives revenue primarily from licensing software under perpetual licenses or consumption-based contracts and related software maintenance and support, software subscription (“subscription”), hosted services, training, and consulting services. Revenue is recognized upon transfer of control of licenses, subscriptions or services to the customer in an amount that reflects the consideration the Company expects to receive in exchange for those licenses, services or subscriptions. Control of a promised license, subscription or service may be transferred to a customer either at a point in time or over time, which affects the timing of revenue recognition. The Company’s contracts with customers may include a combination of licenses, subscriptions and services that are accounted for as distinct performance obligations. Management assesses relevant contractual terms in contracts with customers and applies significant judgment in identifying and accounting for all terms and conditions in certain contracts. For the year ended January 29, 2021, the Company’s revenue was $11.8 billion.

The principal considerations for our determination that performing procedures relating to revenue recognition, specifically the identification and evaluation of terms and conditions in contracts is a critical audit matter are the significant judgment by management in identifying terms and conditions in certain contracts that impact revenue recognition. This in turn led to a high degree of auditor judgment, subjectivity and effort in performing procedures and evaluating audit evidence to determine whether contract terms and conditions, which may impact revenue recognition, were appropriately identified and evaluated by management.

Addressing the matter involved performing procedures and evaluating audit evidence in connection with forming our overall opinion on the consolidated financial statements. These procedures included testing the effectiveness of controls relating to the revenue recognition process, including controls relating to the identification and evaluation of terms and conditions in revenue contracts that impact revenue recognition. These procedures also included, among others, evaluating the completeness and accuracy of management’s identification and evaluation of the terms and conditions in contracts by examining revenue contracts on a test basis and evaluating management’s determination of the impact of those terms and conditions on revenue recognition.



/s/ PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

San Jose, California
March 26, 2021

We have served as the Company’s auditor since 2007.
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VMware, Inc.
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME
(amounts in millions, except per share amounts, and shares in thousands)

For the Year Ended
  January 29, January 31, February 1,
  2021 2020 2019
Revenue(1):
License $ 3,033  $ 3,181  $ 3,042