According to the post by VMware CTO Steve Herrod, he states that since it's founding 11 years ago, VMware has focused on simplifying IT. More to the point saying "VMware has traditionally treated the applications and operating systems running within our virtual machines (VMs) as black boxes with relatively little knowledge about what they were doing."
Moreover I too believe that the operating system seems to get in the way more then it helps. Add in overly complex hyper-visors and you've got several layers too many of abstraction when we all know the real work gets done in the application layer. Everything else just subtracts from the end goal -- Building and deploying scalable applications which at the end of the day is the only reason to have any sort of IT infrastructure anyway.
VMware even has a nice picture to illustrate their the new PaaS initiative:
The announcement goes on to outline "common goals for developers to easily build their applications and move from coding to production execution as seamlessly as possible… regardless of whether they will be deployed to a small internal datacenter for limited use or to a completely external cloud provider for much larger scale audiences (and the hopes of achieving Facebook application stardom!). This end state has a lot in common with what is today referred to as “platform as a service” (abbreviated PaaS). Salesforce.com’s Force.com and Google’s AppEngine are two of the best known examples of PaaS today."
A few weeks ago Tom Lounibos, CEO of Soasta summed up the opportunity when asked "What's the future for Cloud "IaaS" vendors?"...he replied..."becoming "PaaS" vendors". So true