It is nothing new for the fiercest rivals in technology to collaborate or partner for the greater good of their companies. Marc Benioff and Larry Ellison putting their highly public "differences of opinion" aside to integrate Salesforce and Oracle clouds is testament to that.
Companies need to register revenue and profits growth, quarter on relentless quarter, in order to keep shareholders happy and, in doing so, to enter markets in which their partners specialise: take Microsoft's leap into hardware with the Surface and its acquisition of Nokia's phone business, for example.
But VMware's announcements at VMworld Europe 2013 in Barcelona no doubt left many of its partners scratching their heads as to its next moves. The company that dominates virtualisation has seemingly opened shop in several areas in which its partners specialise.
Prior to the conference, much had been made of VMware's relationship with Cisco after the launch of its NSX network virtualisation platform.
Twenty vendor partners signed up to support NSX - but Cisco was not one of them.
VMware's Michael Adams told Computing that the companies would repair any damage caused by the announcement of the NSX platform, which encroaches on the networking space in which Cisco has been a leader for many years.
"[Cisco] sell our stuff and we sell theirs and we have VCE together. They have their SDN strategy, which is completely fine, but our relationship with them is a complex entity and I think we will sort it out over time," he said.
Both Cisco and VMware have reiterated that they will remain partners for the long term, and Adams suggested that the "co-opetition" between the companies has been an ongoing theme of their business relationship.
But VMware's entrance into the networking space has ruffled some feathers, with Cisco's chief technology officer, Padmasree Warrior, claiming that a software-only approach to network virtualisation places "significant constraints on customers", listing several other reasons for customers not to deploy the NSX platform in a blog posting.
And Cisco is not the only partner VMware has upset. Its new software-defined storage product, Virtual-SAN, covers many functions that partners such as Nutanix have been offering for a number of years.
"It's great that VMware is dipping its toe into the market, but we have a [more] mature product," Nutanix's vice president of marketing, Howard Ting, told Computing.
"Obviously, they will eventually catch up so we can't stand still. One key differentiator between us and VMware's Virtual-SAN is that it is going to be a VMware-only solution and we are going to be able to support any hypervisor," he said.