Microsoft announces alliances, lawsuits

By STOKELY BAKSH, UPI Technology Correspondent  |  July 18, 2006 at 12:43 PM
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WASHINGTON, July 18 (UPI) -- Microsoft and XenSource said Tuesday they will collaborate to develop technology for interoperability between Xen-enabled Linux and Microsoft's new Windows hypervisor technology-based Windows Server virtualization.

But the PC giant is also making news on its United Communications front announcing a new strategic alliance with Nortel Tuesday as well as 26 lawsuits against illegal software pirates.

This marks yet another effort by Microsoft in the direction of interoperability, where it has showed lack of interest in the past.

According to the announcement with XenSource, the interoperability tech will be included with the next version of Windows Server, code-named "Longhorn," and "provide customers with a flexible and powerful virtualization solution across their hardware infrastructure and operating system environments for cost-saving consolidation of Windows, Linux and Xen-enabled Linux distributions."

XenSource develops software that lets several versions of Linux run on the same computer through a technology called virtualization and hypervisors is software that allows computer's hardware resources to be shared by multiple operating systems.

Thereby, the interoperable tech developed by Microsoft and XenSource would allow multiple operating systems run on one server, and address the importance of software. So in essence, businesses could run Linux from a Windows machines on the server without a separate Linux machine.

"Microsoft's commitment to customers is to build bridges across the industry with solutions that are interoperable by design," Bob Muglia, Microsoft's senior vice president of the server and tools business, said in a statement. "Our work with XenSource, a recognized leader in open source virtualization technology, reflects that commitment and Microsoft's ongoing efforts to bring virtualization solutions to the mainstream and help customers progress toward self-managing dynamic systems."

Microsoft, which provides virtual machine add-ins and technical support for Linux guest operating systems running on Virtual Server 2005 R2, also said it expects to release a beta version of Windows Server virtualization by the end of the year with plans to release the solution to manufacturing (RTM) within 180 days of the RTM of Windows Server "Longhorn," targeted for 2007.

Earlier this month Microsoft announced it would push document interoperability by sponsoring with its partners an Open project between Microsoft Office Open XML Formats and the Open Document Format (ODF). The move by Microsoft came in response to government requests for interoperability with ODF, which along with public institutions, seek a common standard for which to maintain, read, post and send documents.

ODF creates an open standard for cross-platform documents of text, spreadsheet or presentation that can be displayed on any OS or application.

The translation tools will be developed and licensed as open source software, Microsoft said, who mentioned it would be working with France-based Clever Age along with several independent software vendors including Aztecsoft in India and Dialogika in Germany.

The company also noted that Microsoft Office Word, Excel and PowerPoint "had built-in support of formats to enable interoperability across projects and that in addition to the default Open XML file format, the 2007 Microsoft Office system would include a new menu option dealing with add-ins for PDF and XML-based formats including XML Paper Specification and ODF," Microsoft had said.

But Microsoft also made news announcing the creation of the Innovative Communications Alliance with delivering communications capabilities company Nortel Tuesday as part of Microsoft's unified communications vision. The company said in late June that its 2007 Microsoft Office applications would be enhanced with the incorporation of voice, instant messaging and multi-faceted conferencing.

Both companies said they would collaborate in development and research of technology, joint sales and marketing partnerships, and business engagement levels, as Microsoft expects that the emerging market for unified communications could be upwards of $40 billion.

In addition to its alliance announcements, Microsoft has filed 26 lawsuits against alleged dealers of illegal software including one against a criminally indicted reseller, it said. Among those companies hit with a lawsuit are Affordable Computers, Cyber Connect Inc., Computer Imaging Services Inc., The Computer Shop and SurplusOutlet19. Lawsuits were filed in Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and South Carolina.

Microsoft said it believes these companies "allegedly pirated software or participated in hard-disk loading (installing unlicensed software on computers they sold)," having gathered evidence through a secret shopper program and tops from its anti-piracy hotline.

"Our message should be made very clear by today's lawsuits," said Mary Jo Schrade, senior attorney at Microsoft. "To our honest partners, and to consumers who expect and should receive genuine Microsoft software wherever they go to buy it, we are listening and we are investing a tremendous amount of resources to help you. We are committed to finding the unscrupulous dealers of pirated software and making piracy a business model that doesn't work."

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