Microsoft rolls acquisitions into desktop suite

Microsoft is rolling out offerings from several acquisitions into one desktop-management suite for volume-license customers

Microsoft has rolled offerings from several acquisitions into one product that will be available in January to volume-license customers who purchased its Software Assurance maintenance program.

The Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack for Software Assurance is comprised of software from Microsoft's purchases of Softricity, AssetMetrix, Winternals Software and DesktopStandard, senior director of product management for Microsoft's Windows client business group, Gabriella Schuster, said.

The product rolls up virtualisation software from Softricity, asset-management software from AssetMetrix, group policy-management software from DesktopSoftware and diagnostic and recovery tools from Winternals into a product designed to help companies manage desktops in an enterprise, she said.

The Desktop Optimization Pack will be available first with the Softricity offering, now branded Microsoft Softgrid, in January 2007 for a subscription rate of $US10 per desktop per year for customers who have purchased Microsoft Software Assurance, Schuster said. These customers will get the software in kits they receive periodically as volume-license customers. The software will also be available for download on the Web, Schuster said.

Microsoft will roll out the rest of the software bundle over the first half of 2007 until all of the components of the suite are available. The suite also includes Microsoft Asset Inventory Services from AssetMatrix, Microsoft Advanced Group Policy Management from DesktopStandard and Microsoft Diagnostic and Recovery Toolset from Winternals.

Putting technology from different acquisitions into one product bundle was no accident, Schuster said. She said Microsoft talked to customers about the pain points of managing Windows desktops across the enterprise, and they mentioned asset-management, virtualisation, group policy-management and diagnostic and recovery of applications as tools they needed to help solve those problems.

"We found what we thought were best-of-breed [companies] and acquired them specifically to create this pack," Schuster said. "We wanted to do this comprehensively for enterprise customers."

The software in the Desktop Optimization Pack is not the only technology purchased from some of these companies that Microsoft plans to integrate into its product portfolio, Schuster said. Microsoft plans to sell another product acquired from Softricity, Softgrid for Terminal Servers, as a standalone product. Softgrid for Terminal Servers helps install and manage Terminal Services/Citrix deployments.

Microsoft also plans to integrate additional analysis and reporting software from AssetMetrix into Microsoft's Systems Management Server product, she said.

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