Eric Lai

Microsoft desktop virtualization customers hit 10 million! Kind of

By Eric Lai
September 05, 2008 12:43 AM EDT

Microsoft now has 10 million paying customers for its Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP), which is the license which businesses must buy if they want to do desktop or application virtualization the Redmond way, a Microsoft spokeswoman told me Thursday.

10 million is impressive. It's 50% more than the 6.5 million MDOP customers Microsoft had just a quarter ago. And it's three times its total at the beginning of the year.

With its big virtualization kickoff just around the corner (next Monday), Microsoft wants to show its momentum in the client virtualization arena, which is, unlike the server side, not dominated by VMware Inc.

The big caveat with the 10 million figure is that MDOP includes a bunch of compelling goodies besides virtualization: asset management software from AssetMetrix, group policy software from DesktopStandard, and diagnostic tools from WinInternals.

So it's anyone's guess how many MDOP subscribers that have the right to implement desktop/app virtualization are actually doing so. Microsoft says it doesn't track this.

Redmond isn't the only vendor playing the numbers game.  Citrix Inc. says it has 70 million users for XenApp which offers terminal services and application virtualization. Analysts say only several of the 70 million are probably actually doing the latter.