The kinder, softer, we-love-everybody Microsoft under CEO Satya Nadella’s helm just struck again.
Microsoft is burying the hatchet with VMware, a rivalry that has been going on pretty much since VMware was founded in the late 1990’s.
On Tuesday during VMware’s massive customer conference going on this week in San Francisco, the two announced a new partnership and, for the first time ever, a Microsoft exec appeared on stage at VMworld.
Microsoft’s Jim Alkove, corporate vice president of Windows Enterprise & Security, joined VMware’s Sanjay Poonen on stage. Poonen is the guy that orchestrated VMware’s $1.5 billion purchase of AirWatch last year, and is head of VMware’s mobility business unit.
“It’s very clear what Satya is doing at Microsoft is transforming the openness of Microsoft,” Poonen praised.
The new partnership is called Project A2 and it involves allowing IT departments to manage their Windows devices differently. Instead of just focusing on the machine, Project A2 is going to focus on the applications.
Jacob Kepler/Bloomberg It’s part of a bigger trend called “desktop virtualization” in which IT departments offer app stores and don’t run every app on the device, but stream them from their data centers, or the cloud.
VMware believes Project A2 will encourage businesses to upgrade to Windows 10 by giving them an easier way to roll it out and move all their apps from Windows 7 machines to new Windows 10 machines.
VMware also believes that Windows 10 will be a hit with enterprises regardless, because it helps them move their apps off the device and to the cloud.
Upgrading an operating system at an enterprise, which may have tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of PCs, is no small task.
VMworld/Business Insider A2 hopes to not only make it easier for IT to standardize their PC apps, but also the apps employees use on tablets and smartphones.
The new partnership with Microsoft comes on the heels of an announcement VMmware made earlier this summer to focus on supporting Apple and the iOS platform in enterprises. As part of that announcement, VMware also rolled out a security cloud service that competed with an area that Microsoft has dominated for years: identity management.
But this deal with Microsoft has the potential to be much, much bigger than what VMware is doing with iOS.
CEO Pat Gelsinger recently old us mobile computing will be one VMware’s next, up and coming billion-dollar businesses as he tries to diversify the company away from having just one “rock star” product into having more of them.
VMware makes most of it money from its initial product which does server virtualization, which allows a single server to run a lot of different operating systems and apps.
It was such a big instant hit with enterprises, that Microsoft grew worried it would tank Windows Servers and invented its own competitor, bundled into Windows Servers. And the two have been attacking each other ever since.
Microsoft has also famously buried the hatched with former rival Salesforce, even getting to the point where it was in talks to acquire the company.