It's not virtual, it's really happening. Tech titans Microsoft ( MSFT), Citrix ( CTXS) and VMware ( VMW) are acting like schoolchildren over the sponsorship of a trade show. Microsoft and Citrix are stepping down as sponsors of next week's VMworld virtualization conference due to conflicts with rival VMware, according to NetworkWorld. Both companies will attend the San Francisco conference, which is hosted by VMware as opposed to a neutral party, but will only participate in a limited capacity as exhibitors. Microsoft and Citrix, formerly "gold sponsors" at the high profile shindig, are claiming that VMware is unfairly limiting competition at the show. VMware denies the charge, saying its exhibitor sponsorship contract is "standard across the industry" and there is nothing "out of the ordinary or meant to limit the value of VMworld." Oh come on. It's a virtualization conference, not a gang war. Can't all you nerds put down your pocket protectors and get along? Speaking of ganging up, it's no surprise that Microsoft and Citrix are joining forces against VMware. They have a tight partnership as they attempt to beat back VMware in the x86 virtualization market, reports NetworkWorld. And resentments have been boiling over from last year when Microsoft passed out fake casino chips directing attendees to a Web site titled "VMware Costs Way Too Much." Citrix CTO Simon Crosby said his company was unable to organize a meeting at a hotel near the site where this year's VMworld is being held, because VMware allegedly banned the hotel from renting facilities to VMware competitors. VMware denies the charge, but Crosby remains charged up. Said Crosby, "The ridiculous thing about this is that I thought that VMware was trying to convince us that VMworld is an industry show for virtualization. But It clearly isn't." Stop being such a simpleton, Simon. Of course it's not. Dumb-o-meter score: 90 -- Microsoft can't bear to be anything but the monopolist. Can it?