I just read through the announcement the Microsoft is acquiring the "desktop virtualization" player Kidaro. It didn't take much thought to understand the reasons why if one only reads media and analyst comments about Microsoft's current desktop operating system, Microsoft Vista
Who's Kidaro?I have posted a couple of times on Kidaro. One post, Kidaro Presents Virtual Corporate “To-Go”, examined the company and what it does. Another post, Kidaro customer gains streamlined IT control, profiled the benefits one Kidaro got from Kidaro's technology.
For those who don't want to travel back in time and read those posts, here's how the company describes itself.
Kidaro's scalable, mobile desktop virtualization platform leverages a choice of industry-standard virtualization engines (e.g., VMware®, Microsoft®) to create a corporate-managed encrypted workspace, delivered for local use via DVD, over the network, or for ultimate mobility, via the Kidaro ToGo™ virtual desktop on a USB flash drive. Once the virtual workspace is delivered, users simply authenticate to get started. Predefined applications, resources and network settings become available on their desktop, protected from data leakage, loss or theft, and isolated from vulnerabilities on the underlying PC. All virtual machine management, deployment, and policy enforcement is automated and centrally controlled. This allows IT groups to manage a single virtual desktop, instead of managing thousands of unique desktop images and hardware configurations.
When I spoke to them, I came to the conclusion that the technology appeared to be similar to what LANDesk is offering combined with a little bit of Catbird thrown in for good measure. It appears to offer capabilities that also appear similar to Qumarnet. I openly wondered how they were going to get through all of the noise in the market and become a name IT decision-makers would know. Now I know. Be acquired by Microsoft and the problem is solved.
Here's a bit of how Microsoft describes the move
Managing desktops across an enterprise can be time-consuming, complex and costly. Adding Kidaro’s desktop virtualization capabilities to the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack suite will provide Microsoft Software Assurance customers who have purchased the add-on subscription with the enhanced ability to do the following:
- Accelerate Windows Vista migrations by minimizing compatibility issues between applications and the operating system
- Easily deploy managed Virtual PCs to Windows desktops
- Drive business continuity by enabling rapid reconstitution of corporate desktops
- Minimize the tension between IT control and user flexibility by applying policies in locked-down corporate Virtual PCs while giving users more open access to the underlying host operating system
- Speed user adoption of desktop virtualization by making Virtual PCs iinvisible” to end users
- Reduce IT investment in desktop image management by delivering virtual images independent of hardware or local desktop configuration
Snapshot AnalysisMicrosoft Vista has been viewed as big, slow, complex and incompatible with applications that organizations have come to depend upon. So, I often hear of organizations that have decided to stay with Windows XP until the next Windows operating system comes out.
This creates a big problem for Microsoft. First of all, Microsoft is often presented as having a dominant share of the desktop operating system, office productivity software and collaborative software markets. Dominant, by the way means having greater than 50% share of a given market or more than twice the share of the next competitor in a fragmented market. Microsoft is said to have well over 90% share of the revenues in both the desktop operating system and the office productivity tools markets. Acquiring new customers is increasingly challenging for those who dominate a given market.
Until the company can find a way to make organizations accept a software-as-a-service model for operating systems, office productivity software and collaborative tools, the company depends upon selling product upgrades on a regular basis for revenue. That sounds good until one reads media and analyst comments on Windows Vista, Office 2007, et. al. Comments such as "bloated", "slow" and "incompatible" are often seen. This doesn't bode well for getting organizations who see information technology as a necessary evil to move from something that is good enough for their purposes. Microsoft has made several acquisitions, including Softricity and now Kidaro, in the hopes of making the transition to Windows Vista easier and, thus, get more organizations to move over to Vista. Unfortunately for these organizations, Microsoft has tied this software to the purchase of one of its support services rather than offering these jewels as packaged software.
While I thought Kidaro's approach was interesting, that offered by others seemed better. Let's see what Microsoft does with this technology and if it really convinces those who are waiting that Windows Vista is something they just have to acquire, something that is worth the acquisition of a support contract, upgrading systems to support the heavier load and dealing with incompatibilities that are often mentioned.