Microsoft strikes back at VMware's attack

Microsoft releases another statement responding to VMware's attack on Microsoft's virtualization strategies

Microsoft Tuesday released yet another statement responding to an attack from VMware that criticized the software giant for licensing and technological restraints imposed within its virtualization technology.

The statement was a revision of a declaration made Monday that did not mention VMware by name. Tuesday's second version, however, took VMware to task for statements VMware published in a whitepaper on its Web site.

The feud was ignited by an article on VMware in the Feb. 24 issue of the New York Times in which the company claims Microsoft had recently introduced new restrictions on how its software runs inside virtual machines and changes to how a customer pays for the software.

Critics say the controversy could be the start of an industry battle, perhaps similar to the historic Microsoft/Netscape feud, as the virtualization market is poised to explode.

In Tuesday's response to the VMware attack, Microsoft sent a statement to media outlets from Mike Neil, general manager of virtualization strategy, saying: "Microsoft believes the claims made in VMware's whitepaper contain several inaccuracies and misunderstandings of our current license and use policies, our support policy and our commitment to technology collaboration."

Earlier this year, Microsoft restated its policy that only Vista Business, Enterprise and Ultimate versions could be used in a virtualized environment. Neil defended that decision in a posting on his blog Feb. 25, saying that virtualization was new for consumers and not yet mature enough from a security perspective for broad adoption. He did say, however, that Vista Enterprise lets users have four instances of Windows installed in VMs.

In the Tuesday statement, Neil went on to say: "We believe that we are being progressive and fair with our existing licensing and use policies and creating a level playing field for partners and customers."

Neil said Microsoft was committed to "high-quality" tech support and working toward interoperable virtualization technology.

He then turned the tables on VMware, saying "we believe it's better to resolve VMware's claims between our two companies so that we can better serve customers and the industry. EMC is a long-time partner of Microsoft. We've extended this courtesy to VMware due to our mutual customers and partnership with EMC. We are committed to continuing to collaborate with VMware as we have been doing on regular basis. Consistent with this, Microsoft believes that we will be able to accommodate a mutually agreeable solution between our two companies and clear up any existing misunderstanding with regard to the points raised in the whitepaper."

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