20 February 2003 Microsoft has bought three products from emulation and virtual machine software vendor Connectix for an undisclosed sum.
These include emulation software for Windows and Macintosh PC platforms and, most significantly, a beta version of Windows server virtual machine software that will be integrated with the next version of Microsoft’s Windows Server 2003 operating system.
Initially, Microsoft will use the software to encourage organisations running applications on Windows NT 4 to upgrade to Windows Server 2003, by offering them the opportunity to run Windows NT 4 applications on Windows Server 2003.
The ability to partition an operating system so that it can be used by a number of users as if they were each running their own copy has been a feature available on mainframe, Unix and Linux operating systems for some time, but absent from Microsoft server platforms.
The Macintosh Virtual PC product will be taken over by Microsoft’s Macintosh Business Unit (MacBU), which will continue to develop and support the product. “Our products are all about letting Mac users be compatible with people running Windows. This is a natural extension of the strategy,” Tim McDonough, director of marketing and business development for MacBU, told InfoWorld.
The Macintosh Virtual PC software has an estimated one million users.
However, the deal may concern Apple Macintosh users who use Connectix’s software to run Windows-based applications on Apple hardware, as well as virtual machine software vendors such as VMware and SWSoft.
The deal is the culmination of talks lasting several months. Microsoft had also been talking to VMware about a deal, according to CEO Diane Greene.
About 30 Connectix staff will also transfer to Microsoft.