Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has indicated to investors that Microsoft is preparing to release a low-cost, low-end version of Windows Server with stripped functionality.
The new Windows Server SKU is designed to capitalize on the ever increasing demand for basic computer functionality, which has been introduced into the market along with the netbook craze. Ballmer noted that Microsoft has a relatively small share of the hosting market where the Linux platform prevails heavily and suggested that the new ‘Foundation Server’ will be an attempt to grab server market share away from Linux.
“So we have something that’s akin to netbook at the server, and we’ll be introducing our Foundation Edition over the next month or two.”
Ballmer also mentions that the Foundation Server announcement is quite interesting as well as the analogy to the netbook platform, stating that it is “yet another scenario where (a), Linux has made a serious inroads and (b), Microsoft sells a version of Windows for less than the usual price.” Some feel that Foundation Server could pose a risk and actually drive server prices down or that Foundation Server is a reaction to the recession.
The new low-cost Foundation Server will also provide benefit to the virtualization side of computing. With the availability of a lower cost version of Windows Server we may see increased usage of server virtualization. The decision to release the lower cost Foundation Edition could also be a tactical move by Microsoft that fits well with the recent virtualization agreement between itself and Redhat.