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Microsoft employs bologna defense against VMware

Raises white paper with ball of fluff

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

In classic Redmond fashion, Microsoft has countered VMware's charges of anticompetitive practices in the server virtualization market by heaving a giant ball of fluff at reporters.

Yesterday, we reported on VMware's new white paper that offers a point-by-point synopsis of how Microsoft makes life difficult on customers trying to use server virtualization technology from more than one vendor. The thrust of VMware's complaint centers on alleged inadequate Microsoft support for VMware customers, restrictive access to Microsoft's future virtualization software APIs and Microsoft's roadblocks that prevent virtual machines moving between physical servers. VMware's arguments seem meaty enough, although we're only mildly sympathetic toward the software maker since it owns the dominant position in the x86 server virtualization market and faces little actual threat from Microsoft at this time.

Microsoft has fought back against VMware's meat with something akin to marketing bologna.

"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," said Mike Neil, Microsoft virtualization GM in a statement. "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. We are deeply committed to providing high-quality technical support to our customers who are utilizing virtualization technology. In addition, we are committed to working collaboratively with industry leaders to foster an environment of interoperability and cooperation that best serves our customers."

Through its PR firm, Microsoft declined to make anyone available for an interview to discuss the "inaccuracies and misunderstandings" presented here by VMware.

VMware's dominance of the x86 server virtualization market has in fact forced Microsoft into some progressive postures. Redmond started giving away its Virtual Server software, formed ties with open source rival XenSource and loosened up per processor and per server licensing controls around virtualized software.

Microsoft had a real chance here to keep progressing by providing concrete examples of where VMware's arguments faltered. Instead, it left us all scratching our heads and reading VMware's white paper one more time.

Why would Microsoft even bother to issue such a statement if it's not willing to put someone on the phone for ten minutes?

Off you go, conspiracy theorists.

Microsoft claims it will play nice to resolve its conflict with VMware - an EMC subsidiary - in private.

“We believe it's better to resolve VMware’s claims between our two companies so that we can better serve customers and the industry," Neil added in the statement. "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.”

How nice.

We'll have Microsoft's response once the carrier pigeon arrives. ®

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