Microsoft has snapped up the assets of Softway Systems for technology it claims will boost interoperability between Windows and Unix.
Softway Systems specialises in Interix products which enable interoperability between Unix and Microsoft Windows and NT.
Developers can port Unix based scripts and applications to the Windows NT platform using Interix utilities and developer tools.
The software giant said that customers would benefit from future expanded and integrated tools and utilities, via products such as Microsoft Services for Unix.
Keith White, director of marketing, business and enterprise division at Microsoft said: "While we recommend that customers migrate their software solutions to native 32bit Windows, [the acquisition] allows certain customers to move rapidly to a Windows NT-based solution during that transition process."
Gartner analyst Ed Thomson said: "This boils down to a statement rather than real commitment."
"Steve Balmer (Microsoft's president) has made a commitment to improving interoperability between NT and non Microsoft stuff, but our view is that Microsoft's objective is a 100 per cent Microsoft environment and if they can't achieve that they will suffer it."
Thompson believes that Microsoft will be selective where they include the technology: "60 per cent of NT servers are just file and print. The need for interoperability is zero at that point. However, customers have been demanding interoperability in the data server environment for ages. It's needed there and in the application server environment."
Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, but Microsoft confirmed that members of Softway's development team and other key employees will join Microsoft.
Microsoft did not announce specific product configuration or pricing for the new technologies.
Thompson believes the technology will be used to "bolster the Windows 2000 data centre and the advanced server version. I don't think they'll bother putting it into NT. They will bundle it up with Windows 2000."
He said a real commitment from Microsoft to interoperability would be "getting into the systems management arena like CA and Tivoli. That would be big news."
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