Microsoft acquires desktop virtualization firm Kidaro

Microsoft continues to step up its virtualization push, with the acquisition of desktop virtualization management software developer Kidaro.

Without disclosing a purchase price or when the deal is expected to close, Microsoft said it plans to acquire Kidaro and integrate its technology into the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack for Software Assurance. (View a slide show on 2008's hottest M&A deals.)

Kidaro offers management technology aimed at making it easier for enterprises to deploy, use and manage virtual PCs. The platform comprises several components including a client that handles encryption and firewall security and integrates the virtual machine applications into the end-user computer. The management server assigns configurations and security policies for users and compiles information about clients for monitoring and auditing.

Microsoft expects that the software will help accelerate migration to Windows Vista because it can minimize compatibility issues between applications and the OS. In addition, the software makes the use of virtualization less noticeable to end users, which should also speed adoption, Microsoft said.

Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack for Software Assurance is a package of technologies that enterprises can use to help manage desktops. It includes Application Virtualization, Asset Inventory Service, Advanced Group Policy Management, Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset and System Center Desktop Error Monitoring. Microsoft Software Assurance customers will need to subscribe to an add-on service to access the Kidaro capabilities.

Kidaro has offices in California, New York and Israel. In a blog post, Microsoft said Kidaro's three founders will join the company and that it will keep Kidaro's research and development group in Israel.

Microsoft is working to catch up in the virtualization space. The Kidaro acquisition follows one that Microsoft made earlier this year of Calista Technologies, the developer of graphics technology for people accessing a Windows desktop remotely from a server.

Microsoft also recently changed course and began allowing users to run Windows Vista Home Basic and Home Premium in a virtualized environment. That change allowed Mac users to run Vista along with the Mac OS without having to buy a more expensive version of Windows.

The software giant is also working on virtualization technology for Windows Server 2008. The Hyper-V technology was released in beta late last year, when Microsoft said it would be publicly released within 180 days of the availability of the server. Windows Server 2008 was launched two weeks ago.

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