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, said Gabriella Schuster, senior director of product management for Microsoft’s Windows client business group.
The product rolls up virtualization software from Softricity, asset-management software from AssetMetrix, group policy-management software from DesktopSoftware (sic), 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 $10 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.
The rest of the package will roll out through the first half of 2007. Specifically, the pieces are (from the press release):
Producing this bundle was apparently the objective of the acquisitions:
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, virtualization, 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.”
It’s nice that the Microsoft Software Assurance customers are being offered this package since their big complaint in the past has been that they don’t get anything from their subscriptions but free product upgrades which have been rather scarce in recent years. However, one can’t help but wonder if Software Assurance is to be the only outlet for the tools acquired from these companies.
In that regard, the Softricity products seem to have a life of their own and the press release calls out the fact that AssetMetrix technology is also available via Microsoft’s Systems Management Server, but there doesn’t seem to be an immediate alternative for the others. In particular, one would think that the offered Winternals toolset would have much broader applicability for Microsoft customers than just those with a Software Assurance subscription and it doesn’t encompass all the former Winternals tools. Hopefully the other products and non-Software Assurance customers won’t be forgotten.