Microsoft must be set on the idea of acquisitions as the major driver for growth and innovation in the company, because it’s adding to its lengthy list of recent acquisitions with a hefty offer for Kidaro, a desktop virtualization firm. The price hasn’t been disclosed by the companies involved, but according to the Israeli publication Globes, it’s $100 million.With Kidaro, a system administrator can essentially put together a package of applications and take a snapshot or “image” of that specific configuration, then load it onto a machine, whether it’s a server, desktop computer or laptop. Just using an image adds security and gives the administrator more control, because the image can be re-loaded to its original state anytime.
For Microsoft, Kidaro will also give the company a way to get around application incompatability with Windows Vista. Older applications that were used on Windows XP sometimes don’t work on Vista, but a virtual machine setup can load those older programs without a problem.
There are several other uses for, and methods of doing, virtualization technology. Microsoft also recently picked up Calista, which is good at delivering multi-media content like video on a desktop-based virtualization platform. An alternative pushed by companies like Pano Logic (coverage here ) delivers the image from a remote server, and most virtualization technology comes from the datacenter, where VMWare reigns supreme. Microsoft is also positioning itself as a competitor to VMWare.
The field is rapidly growing for all of those applications. “Back in 2005 when I made the investment, people didn’t think it made any sense,” says Ryan Floyd, the general partner at Storm Ventures who backed Kidaro. “But now [desktop virtualization] has begun to proliferate. There are going to be a lot of opportunities, but they’ll continue to evolve.”