HP, which was one of Microsoft's premium partners for the Windows Home Server platform, has announced that it is to drop the platform and focus on webOS. This move come days after Microsoft announced it was dropping the popular Drive Extender feature from the next incarnation of the Home Server platform.
This from Microsoft's Windows Home Server blog:
You may have seen some blogs posts about HP’s decision announcing the retirement of their MediaSmart Server line, which includes Windows Home Server. As such, HP has told us they do not plan to provide a platform for Windows Home Server code name “Vail”. HP has told us they will continue to sell the existing version of MediaSmart Server through the end of the calendar year 2010 and will honor service and support agreements.
Was Microsoft's decision to drop Drive Extender the reason behind this? Not according to Microsoft:
This news is in no way related to recent announcements about feature changes in Windows Home Server “Vail.”
Allen Buckner, Marketing Manager for the former Home Server Group at HP, conforms this in an interview with MediaSmartServer.net, saying that the decision was down to "shifting additional resources to focus on webOS initiatives." In other words, HP doesn't feel that a home server needs to be encumbered by a $150 Windows OS.
Bottom line, while WHS has a band of loyal and fervent followers, the overall market for a home server can't be that big, especially given the proliferation of NAS boxes, cloud storage and USB drives these days. Windows Home Server was overkill, a sledgehammer to crack a nut, a solution to a problem that didn't really exist.
Things aren't looking good for Vail. Microsoft drops a popular feature, then Microsoft Press cancels an upcoming book on the OS, and now a premium partner pulls out.