Microsoft readies shared classroom server for 2010 debut

Summary:Microsoft is growing its MultiPoint franchise, adding to its line-up in 2010 with a new MultiPoint Server 2010 product. MultiPoint Server 2010 is a host-run operating system that enables multiple users to each run different applications from their own "user stations."

Microsoft is growing its MultiPoint franchise, adding to its line-up in 2010 with a new MultiPoint Server 2010 product.

Windows MultiPoint -- a product developed largely by Microsoft in India and which Microsoft officially unveiled in 2006 -- enabled multiple users to access a single host computer. The product was geared toward students and teachers, especially those in developing countries.

Microsoft is changing the name of the original MultiPoint product to MultiPount Mouse SDK (software development kit).

In the first half of 2010, Microsoft will introduce MultiPoint Server 2010, which is a host-run operating system that enables multiple users to each run different applications from their own "user stations."  The new server product is being developed in Microsoft Corporate Vice President Amit Mital’s organization, the Startup Business Group, which was formed when the former Startup Business Accelerator and Unlimited Potential Group teams were merged under Mital.

A spokesperson sent me the following positioning statement for the Server version of the product:

"Windows MultiPoint Server 2010 allows schools to provide independent computing to more students for the same budget. Teachers can assign and distribute work assignments based on each student’s level and need, or establish a consistent experience, depending on the needs of the class."

Microsoft is touting the forthcoming MultiPoint Server as being designed for non-technical professionals, so they won't need a consultant or administrator to set up and manage the system.

MultiPoint Server maps a USB 2.0 keyboard, mouse, and headset to a monitor to create a student station. Each station gets an individual Windows desktop. The teacher management interface is called the MultiPoint Manager and allows the management of desktops, student accounts, and student sessions, plus provides teachers with a way to distribute content to students’ desktops.

The MultiPoint Server product will be available through both OEM and Academic volume licensing channels, company officials said. At launch, it will be available in Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese (Brazilian), Russian, Spanish, and Turkish.

Windows MultiPoint Server 2010 will have the same application requirements as Remote Desktop Services on Windows Server 2008 R2 (and is based on Windows Server 2008) officials said. The user stations in the configuration do not require an operating system of any kind on them. No word yet on pricing.

Topics: Windows, Hardware, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Servers, Software

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Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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