Wednesday, February 28, 2007

VMware gripes

On the heels of a New York Times profile of the company and its many complaints against Microsoft, VMware posted a white paper to its Web site that detail its gripes, which range from licensing terms, to closed programming interfaces and formats. (The white paper is dated February 23, but seems to have been made public some time after The Times story was published.)

"Microsoft is leveraging its ownership of the market leading operating system and numerous applications that are market leaders in their respective categories (Exchange, SQL Server, Active Directory) to drive customers to use Microsoft virtualization products. Their tactics are focused on software licensing and distribution terms (for SQL Server, Exchange, Windows Server, Vista) and through the APIs and formats for virtualized Windows," the white paper continued.

Among VMware's specific charges:

• "Microsoft has posted language that restricts use of their VHD-formatted VMs ("VHDs") to MS Virtual Server and/or Virtual PC only (as opposed to VMware products, which also run VHDs)."

• "Microsoft is strictly enforcing their VHD format on users and ISVs as a closed ecosystem and not allowing compatibility or translation with other formats."

• "Recent changes in Microsoft licensing have taken a negative stance on mobility and virtualization. These new Microsoft licensing policies ask for permanent assignment of operating system licenses to hardware and then restrict the movement of those operating system licenses, even for virtualized environments that can be moved seamlessly from machine to machine."

• "Microsoft has recently announced a prohibition on virtualizing the less expensive versions of Vista (Vista Home Basic and Vista Home Premium)." Microsoft also is limiting the number of times virtualized environments can be moved to different machines, and what kinds of content (anything "protected by Microsoft digital, information, or enterprise rights management technology" can be virtualized.

• "Microsoft has developed proprietary APIs (including but not limited to what Microsoft calls "Enlightenments") for Longhorn that manage communication between Windows and Microsoft's hypervisor. Microsoft disclosed these API specifications at the WinHEC conference in June 2006, but is not permitting use of these APIs by other virtualization vendors or open source projects. The one exception is Novell, which agreed to give Microsoft critical operating system intellectual property rights and ongoing payments to Microsoft in return."


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