Kidaro Acquisition Shot Across The Bow At Citrix Xen

Microsoft's announced acquisition of desktop virtualization software vendor Kidaro is a direct shot across the bow at the Citrix Xen acquisition.

Clearly, Microsoft's learned some lessons watching Macintosh users use Parallels to run both Windows operating systems and Mac OS X, and figured out that could help corporate users bridge the gaps while transitioning from Windows 2k and XP to Windows Vista. But I see the Kidaro acquisition as much, much more.

Kidaro is to virtualization what Citrix has been to shared application servers. Kidaro is all about creating virtual images that can be centrally managed and then downloaded onto end users machines. This could be in a dual OS type scenario of a Vista machine running a virtual image of Windows XP or Windows 2000. And it also applies to locked down OS images for vertical business applications (like a call center), work-at-home users, or general desktops.

Very much the same target applications we expected from the Citrix acquisition of Xen virtualization software. Citrix has evolved from terminal server like capabilities to Citrix Presentation Server to what is now called Citrix XenApp. That along with XenDesktop and XenServer, the core Xen technology.

Pretty smart acquisition by Microsoft, I'd say. If it helps with Vista adoption or not (maybe, maybe not, in my book), Kidaro adds a ton of needed capabilities to extend Microsoft virtualization onto the desktop. The value from the Virtual PC acquisition has run its course, and Kidaro adds some much need fresh capabilities to Microsoft's virtualization strategy.

A few other strategic things to note: 1) Kidaro also works with VMware images. That's important so Microsoft can play nicey-nice with shops who already are invested in VMware as a core (or THE core) component of their virtualization strategy, while Hyper-V starts to get legs.

2) Kidaro also fits nicely into Ray Ozzie's Microsoft Mesh strategy too. The underlying virtualization technology from Kidaro can greatly aid Microsoft's vision to deliver applications that run as embedded apps installed on the OS (but may only "lightly" installed with Kidaro as the underpinnings), streamed applications, or apps that live partially or fully in the cloud.

Bottom line: I like the Kidaro acquisition. It's a smart move.

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