October 4, 2006

Microsoft buys DesktopStandard

Microsoft has acquired DesktopStandard, a developer of group policy-based enterprise desktop management products, in a move designed help customers leverage the value of policy-based management and their investments in Active Directory, the two companies said Oct. 2.

Larry Orecklin, general manager, Microsoft's Windows Enterprise Management division, said that the acquisition enhances the company's ability to meet the needs of its customers to perform group policy lifecycle management, consolidate the number of policy objects being managed, and increase desktop management functionality.

"DesktopStandard products are already seamlessly integrated with Microsoft group policy and are completely complementary with Microsoft technology," he said.

The acquisition includes DesktopStandard intellectual property, facilities, contracts and customer base, but not the PolicyMaker Application Security business, which will be available from BeyondTrust, formerly a wholly owned subsidiary of DesktopStandard and which focuses on enterprise security products that eliminate the need for security administrators to place trust in computers or users.

John Moyer, DesktopStandard's CEO and co-founder, will become BeyondTrust CEO, while Eric Voskuil, DesktopStandard CTO and co-founder, will join Microsoft's Windows Enterprise Management division as a software architect.

"It is an exciting opportunity to move forward with BeyondTrust at a time when organizations are focused on increasing protection from zero-hour exploits, data theft and unauthorized malicious use," Moyer said in a statement.

Under the deal, whose terms and price were not disclosed, Microsoft gets the GPOVault, ProfileMaker, Dragnet, PolicyMaker Standard Edition, Registry Extension, Share Manager and Software Update, all of which integrate with and extend Microsoft's existing group policy management tools.

DesktopStandard will continue to operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft while the DesktopStandard technology transitions across, the companies said.

"Joining with Microsoft will allow DesktopStandard to more quickly meet our goal of helping customers extend group policy to handle the majority of their distributed management tasks and to provide a more manageable environment for doing so.

"Customers will benefit now and into the future as our innovative team joins Microsoft in building the future of model-based policy management technologies," Voskuil said in a prepared statement.

Microsoft would also continue to meet all of DesktopStandard's customer support agreements through their terms, with GPOVault, ProfileMaker, PolicyMaker Standard Edition and Share Manager continuing to be made available through existing DesktopStandard partners and directly from Microsoft, while ProfileMaker will be available only from existing DesktopStandard partners.

The deal also pushes some customers toward Windows Server Update Services as DesktopStandard's Policy-Maker Software Update will no longer be available for purchase.

But Microsoft will provide patch information for six months and support customers according to the terms and conditions of existing agreements, the two companies said.