VMware Adds Server to Free Virtualization Roster

VMware shook up the virtual world with its free VMware player (I tried to load it once on my daughter's PC and it didn't take, but I'd love to know how you like it -- tell me at dbarney@redmondmag.com). That one got so much attention the company decided to ship a free low-end server tool. The server may be free, but support sure ain't -- expect to shell out $350-$450 a year to keep it all up and running.

Virtualization Licensing Improved, But Not Enough
Microsoft, having liberalized licensing for server virtualization, just did the same for PCs. Under the new plan, one can run four virtual machines under one Windows license -- but only for Software Assurance customers.

To me, this is way too little. On PCs, virtual machines are one way to sidestep key Windows weaknesses, such as browsing in a virtual machine to avoid spyware, or doing e-mail in a virtual machine to keep viruses away. Once Microsoft eliminates both threats, I'll be happy to pay for an extra virtual machine. Until then, cut us a break. Agree or disagree? Let me know at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

The Chinese Wall Still Down
Over a decade ago, Microsoft claimed there was a Chinese Wall separating its OS and application divisions -- essentially giving ISVs a level playing field. The Wall never truly existed, or at the very least, there were gaping holes for Redmond employees to walk through. Tired of the charade, Microsoft eventually tore down the invisible/non-existent wall and openly intertwined the two groups.

European Union (EU) officials seem nostalgic for the days of the Wall (however imaginary it was), fining Microsoft $357 million for too closely mingling its apps and OS.

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In the '80s and early '90s, the problem was with Windows on the desktop (a clear monopoly) and productivity apps. Today the EU is concerned with Windows Server, which is far from a monopoly (at least for now) and the closeness of Microsoft Server apps. The claim is that Microsoft gives its own developers more inside info than it does competitors. With a publicly stated goal of taking over key markets, is this really a surprise? What do you think? Does Microsoft take unfair advantage by blending apps and OS teams? Tell us at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

The EU Ain't Done Yet
The EU is just waiting for Vista to ship for an all new anti-trust party to get started. Officials are warning that Vista, by bundling features that third parties charge for, and perhaps based on the too-tight integration with Redmond apps, could be worth a whole new series of fines.

The big question is, should Microsoft be allowed to leverage all its strengths to dominate more and more markets? Tell us at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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