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Microsoft Acquires Winternals, Sysinternals

Microsoft announced this week it has acquired Winternals Software LP, a well-known vendor of enterprise systems recovery and data protection solutions for Windows, along with the company's associated freeware site Sysinternals.

The 10-year-old Austin, Texas firm brings to Microsoft products such as Winternals Administrator's Pak, Protection Manager, Defrag Manager and Recovery Manager. It also brings dozens of Sysinternals tools, including Filemon, Regmon and Process Explorer, which are used by "millions of people" for troubleshooting and management, according to statements on Sysinternals' Web site.

High on the list of the company's assets are the firm's two founders -- Mark Russinovich and Bryce Cogswell -- who will become Microsoft employees.

Russinovich will become a technical fellow in Microsoft's Platforms and Services Division. Cogswell will join as a software architect within the Window Component Platform Team. They had been chief software architect and chief technology officer, respectively, at Winternals. The pair are nearly legendary in status within the operating system design world, thanks to the popularity of their tools.

Russinovich holds a B.S. and a Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University as well as an M.S. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, all in computer engineering. He previously worked for IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Center.

Cogswell also received both his master's degree and his Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon, and has a B.S. degree in computer science from the University of California. He is a kernel-level programmer specializing in interfacing software with hardware, according to his biography on Winternals' Web site.

Russinovich's name came into the public eye most recently last October when he discovered and blew the whistle on Sony BMG's use of "rootkit" digital rights management technology on some audio CDs, a controversy that still simmers.

But what does the acquisition mean to existing customers?

"Microsoft will continue to meet all Winternals customer support agreements through their terms. All Winternals customers are Microsoft customers and it is our aim to provide more value to you in the end as part of Microsoft," read an FAQ regarding the acquisition on Winternals Web site.

However, that does not mean that the current roster of products will remain available for sale -- at least in their current form. "We are looking to integrate the technologies and talent into Microsoft. Microsoft is currently finalizing plans on how these products and technologies can be best integrated with existing Microsoft technologies to maximize future customer value," the FAQ continued.

Winternals Software is a privately owned company. Further details of the deal were not disclosed.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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