Microsoft pitches multiuser OS for education market

The new server OS will support sessions for multiple thin-client devices

Microsoft will release a new version of its Windows Server software configured to let multiple users access a server simultaneously from multiple screens.

Microsoft is marketing the operating system, called Windows MultiPoint Server 2010, for environments with many users working on similar tasks, such as labs, classrooms and libraries.

The software, built on Windows Server 2008 R2, is available now to system vendors and will be offered to academic volume licensing customers on March 1.

Organizations can use the software to set up multiple workstations, all of which run the same copy of the operating system. Users will be able to keep private files and save their sessions when they log off. They will also be able to share documents.

Microsoft has lined up partnerships with a number of thin-client device makers that could provide the workstations for these setups, including DisplayLink, Hewlett-Packard, NComputing and Wyse Technology.

A number of educational software vendors have also promised to craft versions of their products for MultiPoint, including AB Consulting, LanSchool Technologies and NetSupport Ltd.

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