Microsoft Corp. today announced it has acquired Apptimum Inc., which provides award-winning products that automatically transfer customers’ applications to new computers. Microsoft plans to use the acquired intellectual property and technology assets to provide customers of Microsoft® Windows® with the tools they need to simplify the transfer of their applications to their new computers. The technology acquired from Apptimum is expected to be a strong complement to the transfer experience offered in Windows Vista™ later this year.
“Our customers and partners have been asking for a much easier way to transfer their data and applications from old computers to new ones,” said Amitabh Srivastava, corporate vice president of Windows Core Operating System Development at Microsoft. “We’ve improved this experience in Windows Vista, and as a result of the Apptimum acquisition we will make it even easier for customers to transfer the applications that are most important to them.”
Apptimum, formerly Eisenworld Inc., was founded in 1998 and is best known for its market-leading Alohabob PC Relocator products. The first public release of a Microsoft product based on the Apptimum technology is planned to be an optional download for Windows Vista customers. Further details about the planned Microsoft product, including the timeline for delivery, are not yet available. Terms of the acquisition were not announced.
Transferring applications and their associated data from one machine to another is incredibly tedious and easily the most annoying part of acquiring a new PC. Microsoft offers a Files and Settings Transfer Wizard on Windows XP that provides only meager comfort, so it’s no surprise that a group of independent software vendors has grown up to provide a smoother experience. Alohabob is a highly regarded member of the group (PC Magazine’s Editor’s Choice in 2004) and while I haven’t seen what new functionality Vista was planning to provide, this acquisition presumably means it does not approach the best experience offered by the ISVs.
While this will be a welcome addition to Vista, I once again have to remark that this is another instance of Microsoft ingesting a partner niche. How long are the the other ISVs in this space going to survive once Alohabob becomes a free Vista feature? Sounds like more grist for the antitrust mill.