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July 12, 2006

Microsoft Virtual PC now free

Posted by David Hunter at 7:09 PM ET.

Scattered in Microsoft’s umbrella press release for the second day of their World Partner Conference 2006 was a variety of virtualization news including that Microsoft’s Virtual PC 2004 Service Pack 1 is now a free download like its cousin, Virtual Server 2005 R2:

One new benefit (of Microsoft’s Software Assurance offering) for Windows Vista Enterprise customers is the right to install four copies of the operating system in virtual machines on a desktop for a single user. This new benefit provides unique value for customers addressing application compatibility through virtualization. Responding to changing market conditions, Virtual PC 2004 SP1 is available immediately for free download. In addition, Virtual PC 2007, which supports Microsoft Windows Vista, will be available for free in 2007.

You can download it here. The “changing market conditions” is the ongoing price war in the virtualization space between Microsoft and VMware (owned by EMC) where the virtualization offerings have become loss leaders to get customers to buy something else like Microsoft Software Assurance mentioned above.

Also related:

Beginning Oct. 1, 2006, customers will be able to purchase Windows Server 2003 R2, Datacenter Edition, from Microsoft resellers and account managers on their Microsoft Volume Licensing agreement as well as from OEMs preinstalled on servers with two to 64 processors, with or without the Datacenter High Availability Program. Windows Server, Datacenter Edition, licenses will also include the right to run unlimited virtual instances on one server at no additional charge, which can potentially extend the savings customers can realize through server consolidation on the Windows Server platform.

This one is rather odd because part of the cachet of Datacenter was always that you could only buy it from an OEM with strict support guarantees. The unlimited virtual instances of Datacenter isn’t actually new news, but now there’s a new incentive to buy a volume licensing contract and, of course, the real money makers are the Microsoft middleware licenses and associated client access licenses for what will be running on the virtual machines. Microsoft is planning on bundling virtualization directly into Windows Server Longhorn which will make it all the more seamless.

Finally, VMware also had an announcement today that illustrates their monetization strategy as Nate Mook reports at Betanews:

VMware on Wednesday released the final version of its VMware Server virtualization product, the successor to GSX Server. Just like the beta release that debuted in February, VMware is making the software available free of charge, much like Microsoft has done with Virtual Server 2005 R2.

The company hopes that by giving away its entry-level product, it will drive users to upgrade to its for-pay ESX Server, as well as position the company as the leader in virtualization technology. While VMware Server will require a “host” operating system in order to use its features, ESX requires no host.

The selling point for ESX is lower overhead and better resource allocation than virtualization based on a Windows operating system. That certainly has its attractions, but the single revenue source makes them vulnerable to “good enough” arguments and improving Microsoft technology.

Filed under Coopetition, Microsoft, OS - Server, Partner Program, VMware, Virtual PC, Virtual Server, Virtualization, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2008

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2 Responses to “Microsoft Virtual PC now free”

  1. Microsoft and XenSource to cooperate on Longhorn vitualization interop -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Also, specific optimizations will be added to optimize Linux performance as it runs on top of Longhorn Server in the form of drivers to enable specific forms of I/O partitions, in particular network and disk I/O, Artale said. Finally, Steve Hamm at BusinessWeek online gives an assessment of the state of the virtualization business by reference to Microsoft competitor VMware who we mentioned last week: Last week, when parent EMC revealed second quarter results, VMware’s business posted a very healthy 73% increase to $158 million. That puts it on track to rack up around $630 million in sales this year. VMware very slyly in February released a free version of its basic virtualization software to head off the threat from Xen. (It still charges for maintenance) Now its main bulwark against rivals is innovation. Analysts say it has a solid lead on both Microsoft and Xen. Filed under OS – Server, Windows Server Longhorn, Coopetition, Open Source, Virtualization, Linux, VMware, Xen, Microsoft, XenSource   [Permalink] [...]

  2. Microsoft releases Virtual PC 2007 for free download -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Microsoft today released Virtual PC 2007 which, in keeping with the competition in virtualization, is available as a free download from the web. You can check out the overview document for technical details, but it uses Microsoft’s XPS format which means you have to install .NET Framework 3.0 to read it if you aren’t running Vista. If that’s impossible or the prospect fills you with dismay, the net is that Virtual PC 2007 adds: * Support for x64 Windows as a host operating system * Support for hardware virtualization support * Support for Windows Vista as a guest and host operating system * Support for PXE network booting of virtual machines * Support for the use of fullscreen virtual machines on multi-monitor systems (VM still stays on just one monitor though) However, as we mentioned in January, you won’t be running any Home versions of Vista in a Virtual PC because it is forbidden. Allowable hosts are Windows Vista Business, Windows Vista Enterprise, Windows Vista Ultimate, Windows XP Professional, or Windows XP Tablet PC Edition. Filed under OS – Client, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Technologies, Virtualization, Virtual PC, XP Tablet PC, XPS, Microsoft, XP x64 [...]

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