Microsoft has acquired visualisation software and network diagramming tools vendor Visio in a stock swap worth $US1.3 billion ($2 billion).
Seattle-based Visio will become the Visio division in Microsoft's business productivity group, which is led by Bob Muglia.
Visio's enterprise-wide business diagramming and technical drawing software will be used in conjunction with Microsoft's business productivity applications, Office, and Windows-based networks to "improve the way knowledge workers present their ideas", Muglia said.
Visio's latest product, Visio Enterprise 5.0, provides IT professionals with a comprehensive suite of development tools for designing and managing enterprise-level information systems across network, database, and software development disciplines, officials said.
The product, which costs less than $US1000, may also aid in linking devices on a network via directory services, and may provide a competitive buffer against such efforts as the Jini initiative from Sun Microsystems.
Visio Enterprise, for example, lets users easily map existing topology via its Network AutoDiscovery tool, which uses SNMP and a Ping-based technology to discover devices without interrupting the IP network. Using Network AutoDiscovery, users can quickly map their current networks into a device and connectivity database that can be supplemented with product-specific details, officials said.
Visio Enterprise 5.0 supports Microsoft Active Directory and Windows NT Domain structures as well as Novell Directory Services logical tree structure development. It also has a Dynamic Connector to facilitate link building between networked components.
In addition, the Visio Network Equipment library contains a collection of 14,000 vendor-specific network, database, software, and general business shapes that can be built from scratch or associated with the auto-discovered database, thereby producing an easily generated and manageable networking diagram.
"Visio has been a pioneer in delivering unique diagramming solutions to business and enterprise customers and represents a strong addition to the Microsoft family of business products," Muglia said.