Windows

Microsoft changes its mind on Vista virtualization


MicrosoftIt appears that Microsoft had initially planned earlier in the week to announce that it was broadening the virtualization rights for Windows Vista, but it reversed its course at the last minute.

According to CNET Networks' News.com, the software maker had briefed both reporters, as well as analysts, on plans to allow the Home versions of Vista to run in virtual machines. At the moment, only Vista Business and Vista Ultimate could legitimately be run as guest operating systems, according to licensing rules announced for Vista last year.

The following is an excerpt of the News.com interview with Benjamin Rudolph, Parallels' director of corporate communications, which sums up the general sentiment of this entire issue:

Rudolph said that his users had struggled to understand Microsoft's rationale for limiting which versions of Vista could run alongside the Mac OS [in the Parallels for Mac virtual machine]. "They want to use Vista, but they were a little confused as to why they have to pay $400.

Microsoft provided little explanation for the about-face, simply saying that: "Microsoft has reassessed the Windows virtualization policy and decided that we will maintain the original policy announced last fall."

For more information, check out these additional news sources:

As virtualization gains mainstream acceptance and usage, changes in licensing terms is inevitable. This is even more important now that powerful multi-core processors with more than four cores are expected to come online over the next few years, as well as increasing hardware support for virtual machines.

What do you think could be Microsoft's real concern here? Join the discussion.

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About

Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.

24 comments
Fil0403
Fil0403

"What do you think could be Microsoft???s real concern here?" Simple and obvious: Microsoft is worried some people will buy cheap versions of Vista and illegally install them and use them through virtualization in multiple Macs.

TechExec2
TechExec2

. [b][i]"...The company said virtualization presents inherent security risks and that it hoped by limiting which versions of the OS could act as virtual machines, only sophisticated users and businesses would employ the tactic..."[/i][/b] (1) It's about protecting the children! :^0 Bullsh*t! X-( [b][i]"...On the Mac in particular, though, virtualization has become a consumer feature and many people wanted to use the Home versions of Vista, which Microsoft executives concede present no additional security risk..."[/i][/b] (1) Interviewer: If there is no security risk when Vista runs in a VM on a Mac host, why is there a risk when the host is Windows? Microsoft: Umm. Err. Umm. The "WOW" Starts Now! Interviewer: If a user is capable of installing and configuring VM software, and then installing Vista in a virtual machine, doesn't that automatically make him a "sophisticated user"? Microsoft: Umm. Err. Umm. 40 million copies of Vista sold in two months! Bullsh*t! X-( [b]So...What's the deal?[/b] It is not in Microsoft's best interest to allow desktop Windows to become the little auxiliary OS that runs inside a little virtual box on a real *nix machine (Mac OS X, Linux, Unix). This marginalizes Windows and weakens the Windows franchise. This is EXACTLY what I am doing, for example (although I still let Windows have a some real hardware for now). :-) I run as little Windows and as few Windows apps as I possibly can. If Microsoft had their way, running Vista in a VM on *nix (Mac OS X, Linux, Unix) would not be allowed in the license at all. Restricting virtual Vista to physical Windows hosts requires help from VM software makers and the only one Microsoft trusts is Virtual PC. Restricting virtual Vista to Virtual PC would re-awaken the antitrust demon (and rightly so). VMWare/EMC and Parallels would scream bloody antitrust and they would win. So, Microsoft is settling for making virtual Vista as expensive as possible to discourage it, and make as much as possible off of it. [b]Why the flip flop?[/b] Microsoft is a huge company now (71,000 employees). Somebody approved of the licensing change and they announced it. Somebody else found out about it and they reversed it. The interesting question is? Who approved it? Who reversed it? :-) [b]Just say "NO"?[/b] Vendors that can just say "NO" to customers and get away with it have too much damn power. It would be best for ALL computer users if Windows' market share would drop to about 50% with *nix (Mac OS X, Linux, Unix) making up the other 50%. That should be enough to transform Microsoft into a company that serves customers better. But, not because they care. It will be out of fear of losing even MORE customers. Hey Microsoft! For a growing list of people, your OS runs just a very few apps in a cute little virtual box now. And, as soon as they can...they won't run your OS...at all. And remember, big bullies don't cry. :^0 --------------------------------------------- (1) Microsoft flip-flops on Vista virtualization http://news.com.com/Microsoft+flip-flops+on+Vista+virtualization/2100-1016_3-6191787.html?tag=item

Fil0403
Fil0403

"Hey Microsoft! For a growing list of people, your OS runs just a very few apps in a cute little virtual box now. And, as soon as they can...they won't run your OS...at all. And remember, big bullies don't cry." Hey MS-hater! For 90+% of people, Microsoft's OS still runs natively on their PCs. And, as a matter of fact... Windows altogether has more 0.07% market share than 1 year ago (http://marketshare.hitslink.com/report.aspx?qprid=5)... which completely goes against what you said. And remember, claiming every year people will soon stop using Windows doesn't make any difference.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

MS has been very financially successful selling a broken product to uneducated consumers. That doesn't invalidate your choice to use and enjoy MS software any more than it invalidates other's seeing the swiss cheese for what it is and using something else. It's ok, our ability to choose better quality software doesn't disqualify your choice to run what's pretty and supports your computer games with least effort.

TechExec2
TechExec2

. March: 9.9%. April: 12.5%. May: 14.3%. This is "Vista Fever". This is the market share of Apple MacBook notebook computers in the United States (1). And, notebook computers are the majority of computers sold. I guess the "WOW" really has started after all! :^0 ----------------------------------------- (1) Apple snatches 14 percent of May notebook sales http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/07/06/22/apple_snatches_14_percent_of_may_notebook_sales.html

yobtaf
yobtaf

I own two MacBook Pros and one Dell Insperons. The Macs win hands down. Period!

yesitsfast
yesitsfast

Microsoft is simply exercising the liberal philisophy that the individual is incapable of taking care of himself (or herself) and they, the all-seeing, all-knowing, will protect the poor unwashed from harm. No parallels here.

Fil0403
Fil0403

You are just showing enthusiastic espousal of unsupported evangelistic fervor. No irony here.

yobtaf
yobtaf

Boy did you miss the point.

Fil0403
Fil0403

Commenting articles about Microsoft is not (and was never and probably never will be) about getting the point or even remotely make sense, but about bashing as much as you can (no actual proofs or real-life testing needed here, that's for suckers) to show your ignorance and short-minded philosiphy.

manny
manny

I think Microsoft is seeing that they will experience a loss of revenue and "pull" with OEMs. I think if Microsoft engages in a hardball strategy re: virtualization of Vista, I for one being a long term MS supporter through the "religious" battles they have endured, will begin looking for alternatives if they don't allow for the friendly enabling of Virtualization. I will view it as an obstacle to progress for the industry. Hopefully, cooler heads will prevail at Microsoft....for their sake.

Absolutely
Absolutely

There's probably a bug in the home versions that causes virtualization to crawl. In a couple weeks, they'll claim the delay is a "feature"!

letras32
letras32

They have there more than a bug in the home versions. :( sorry Microsoft but that's true Adam Sam Message was edited by: beth.blakely@...

paulmah
paulmah

What do you think is Microsoft?s real concern here?

ScienceMikey
ScienceMikey

It turns out that the DRM features in WinVista are easily blown away like smoke on a summer breeze when WinVista is virtualized. See http://preview.tinyurl.com/yrjfvd (Computerworld article). I don't see how MS can fix this, nor why they didn't realize it BEFORE the egg blew up in their faces. In acceding to the likes of Sony and Viacom, Microsoft thought they could be the masters of Hollywood, but it's the customers that are getting bent over... -- Mikey

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

The guest OS sees only the VM software layer. Everything is contained within the virtual environment just as it would be contained within the hardware limits of a native install. I don't see how DRM is bipassed any more than virtualization making malware more potent. Anyone have a technical basis for why this is? I'm off to read the news article in the link now that I've opened my yap.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

It's a lot of work to share a music library between friends but at some point, the amount of contained media and retail value of pirating that media would balance out the effort. In that case you'd have to be talking hundreds of GB worth of movies and music though. Everyone else is looking for ways to extend the user's abilities with the computer and MS is looking for more ways to lock the user into there vision of how computing should be. Bah.. freaking business motivations always get in the way of true technology development.

Absolutely
Absolutely

Forget them. Suppose that instead of charging for the CD with the Windows operating system stamped onto it like a brand on a cow, they charged for some level of technical support, which would be verified against a number on your purchase order, not a serial number on the CD.

retro77
retro77

You already have to pay for support for M$ products. The ones pirating Windows are savy enough to fix the issues and never have to call support.

retro77
retro77

"I think what they are saying is that I could install Windows in a VM, then I could buy some DRM-protected media (videos, music, etc.) and get it "authorized" to play on the copy of Windows installed in my VM. Then I could put a copy of my virtual hard drive (VHD) file up on Bit Torrent, etc., and you could then download it, boot it up as a VM on your computer and then play the DRM protected media without paying for it." Thats further than I want to go to pirate some music. Your talking about multi GB of data here. 406GB just for a windows install, plus the music/movie data. Wow!

Absolutely
Absolutely

"pay for support" model? I honestly don't know enough about the cost of providing such support vs. their present costs on copyright enforcement as they're approaching it today. But, I do suspect that, on a call for technical support, if original sales are recorded carefully, fraudulent copies would be easy to identify during a verification phase, obviating the need for gonzo holograph- & WGA-type measures.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Each movie becomes a VM appliance. That seems like too much effort but I guess that would be a work around. Heck, you could build a huge media appliance with any OS at it's core. Bah, now how long before the RIAA war on fair use stunts the growth of another good technology.

rick@Hogans-Systems.com
rick@Hogans-Systems.com

I think what they are saying is that I could install Windows in a VM, then I could buy some DRM-protected media (videos, music, etc.) and get it "authorized" to play on the copy of Windows installed in my VM. Then I could put a copy of my virtual hard drive (VHD) file up on Bit Torrent, etc., and you could then download it, boot it up as a VM on your computer and then play the DRM protected media without paying for it. Although I have not tested that myself, it sounds like a reasonable explanation. I think it is very unfortunate that technology decisions are being dictated by Hollywood's fears of piracy. I think it is also very unfortunate that Microsoft ends up taking the blame for screwing things up, when it seems like they are stuck in the middle between consumers wanting to just be able to use their computers the way they feel like using them, vs. Hollywood trying to regulate every little detail of everything we can or cannot do. I don't know for sure that this is exactly what is happening, but I suspect that it is. I'm not just an MS-bigot trying to defend every bad decision MS makes, as some people elsewhere on this forum have suggested. Rick

letras32
letras32

I really can't imagine what is going to be there with that, but it seem to me that will be nice to see the news in the next few days. Adamm Sam Message was edited by: beth.blakely@...

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