VMware Acquires Thinstall to Take Virtualization to the Desktop

Unless you’re an information technology manager or a Wall Street banker still drooling over VWware’s $32 billion market cap, virtualization is not sexy. But it soon might be, with VMware’s agreement to buy desktop virtualization startup Thinstall. Bringing virtual software to the desktop for employees and consumers effectively makes the portable desktop a reality.

Yes, I know web applications and software as a service can make applications portable, but I’m talking about replicating your enterprise applications on a thumb drive, plugging that into a home or remote computer, working on something, saving it, and then bringing it back to the office. Thinstall enables that entire process; it also offers as a version of what the tech world used to call thin-client computing. Virtualization has more cachet, though.

For VMware, this deal pushes them deeper into the software side of virtualization, which is good considering the company’s dominant market share on the sever side. To feed that huge market cap, VMware needs to grow, so buying Thinstall is a logical step. The move also follows on the heels of VMware’s purchase of small independent software integrator Propero. The company will likely make additional buys to stay ahead of its competition.

As for the competition, it’s not standing still. Last summer Citrix bought server virtualization company XenSource for $500 million; Microsoft purchased desktop virtualization provider Softricity the year before. Today’s move by VMware may put Thinstall competitors such as Endeavors Technologies Kidaro, and InstallFree in play.

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