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Microsoft Talks Mobility Management on VMworld Keynote Stage

As competition in the IT industry has brought together strange bedfellows lately, it appears Microsoft and VMware are the latest to publicly share their love-hate relationship. Of course it's to mutual benefit. In the keynote session on the second day of VMworld 2015, taking place this week in San Francisco, Windows Enterprise Executive Jim Alkove became the first Microsoft executive to appear on stage at VMware's annual confab.

Sanjay Poonen, general manager and executive vice president for end-user computing at VMware, called Alkove on stage during his keynote presentation where both execs explained how the two companies worked together to ensure tight integration between Windows 10 and VMware's AirWatch enterprise mobility management platform

"We love Windows 10 because you've opened up Windows 10 for an enterprise mobile management player like AirWatch," Poonen said to Alkove. "It's unprecedented."  In response, Alkove said: "In order to address modern security threats, it's critical [that] hardware and software be designed to work together in tight partnership. With Windows 10 we're bringing enterprise mobility management to the entire family of Windows devices and we are simplifying deployment to put an end to the days of wipe and reload."

The unique aspect of this brief public display of mutual admiration comes as Microsoft is fiercely aiming to take on VMware AirWatch, which is one of the leading enterprise mobile management platforms (VMware acquired it in 2014). Microsoft corporate VP Brad Anderson has said on numerous occasions that with Redmond's own new Enterprise Mobility Suite, organizations don't require a third-party EMM suite.

"You would think of Microsoft as being low in the ability to execute," said Ben Goodman, product manager for VMware Identity Manager, in an interview at VMworld. "They are a big company." At the same time Goodman lauded Microsoft for its commitment to ensuring compatibility between Windows 10 and AirWatch. "To Microsoft's credit, they've been great in terms of a development partner," he said. "The question is, do you believe [VMware] AirWatch can manage desktops or do you believe Microsoft can manage mobile? We're both kind of new to both spaces."

Looking to demonstrate it's looking to leapfrog others in mobility management, VMware revealed Project A2, which ties together AirWatch and App Volumes, the tool introduced at last year's VMworld that can deliver hundreds of virtual apps. Project A2, which will be made available for technical preview and released next year, will enable the management of virtual and physical apps on desktops.

Also on the end user computing side, VMware announced Horizon 6.2 and Horizon 6.2 for Linux, which the company said will provide richer user experiences, support for Microsoft's Skype for Business and Nvidia's GRID vGP (virtual graphics processing unit), improved VMware Virtual SAN storage optimizations, support for biometric fingerprint authentication and FIPS 140-2 compliance for those with federal government governance requirements.

Updated Sept. 4: An earlier version of this blog erroneously gave attribution to VMware's Kevin Strohmeyer. The correct executive was Ben Goodman, though both were interviewed in separate meetings at VMworld.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 09/01/2015 at 1:29 PM


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