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Microsoft, VMware Talk Windows 10 and Mobility Management

Tuesday marked the first onstage appearance of a Microsoft executive at VMworld, the annual conference hosted by Microsoft rival VMware.

Jim Alkove, an executive in Microsoft's Windows Enterprise group, joined Sanjay Poonen, VMware's general manager and executive vice president for end user computing, in the Day 2 keynote presentation at VMworld, taking place this week in San Francisco. The two executives explained how their companies are working together to ensure tight integration between Windows 10 and VMware's AirWatch enterprise mobility management (EMM) platform.

"We love Windows 10 because you've opened up Windows 10 for an enterprise mobile management player like AirWatch," Poonen said to Alkove. "It's unprecedented." 

In response, Alkove said, "In order to address modern security threats, it's critical [that] hardware and software be designed to work together in tight partnership. With Windows 10 we're bringing enterprise mobility management to the entire family of Windows devices and we are simplifying deployment to put an end to the days of wipe and reload."

The unique (and brief) public display of mutual admiration between the two companies comes even as Microsoft aims to take on AirWatch, a leading EMM platform that VMware acquired in 2014. Microsoft Corporate Vice President Brad Anderson has said on numerous occasions that with Microsoft's own new Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS), organizations don't require a third-party EMM suite.

"You would think of Microsoft as being low in the ability to execute," said Ben Goodman, product manager for VMware Identity Manager, in an interview at VMworld. "They are a big company."

At the same time, Goodman lauded Microsoft for its commitment to ensuring compatibility between Windows 10 and AirWatch. "To Microsoft's credit, they've been great in terms of a development partner," he said. "The question is, do you believe [VMware] AirWatch can manage desktops or do you believe Microsoft can manage mobile? We're both kind of new to both spaces."

Looking to demonstrate its latest efforts to leapfrog others in mobility management, VMware revealed Project A2, which ties together AirWatch and App Volumes, the tool introduced at last year's VMworld that can deliver hundreds of virtual apps. Project A2, which is now available as a technical preview and will be released next year, will enable the management of virtual and physical apps on desktops.

Also on the end user computing side, VMware announced Horizon 6.2 and Horizon 6.2 for Linux, which the company said will provide richer user experiences, support for Microsoft's Skype for Business and NVIDIA's GRID vGP (virtual graphics processing unit), improved VMware Virtual SAN storage optimizations, support for biometric fingerprint authentication, and FIPS 140-2 compliance for those with federal governance requirements.

Updated Sept. 4: An earlier version of this blog erroneously gave attribution to VMware's Kevin Strohmeyer. The correct executive was Ben Goodman, though both were interviewed in separate meetings at VMworld.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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