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Microsoft Gives Tacit Approval

NEW YORK Wide area file services (WAFS) and WAN optimization are rapidly becoming a game of partnerships, and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) today declared its support for startup Tacit Networks Inc.

Microsoft and Tacit expressed their mutual admiration at a news conference that included little news, but allowed executives of each company to stress the benefits of working together.

Microsoft hasn’t made the same financial commitment as networking companies Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR) did by buying startups in this space (see Cisco Chomps FineGround, Cisco Acts on Actona, and Peribit Deal: More to Come). It didn’t even forge an OEM deal or invest in Tacit as did SAN switch vendor Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD). (See Brocade Invests in Tacit.) But the product manger for its Windows Server Division made it clear that Microsoft sees a market in streamlining data delivery to remote sites.

”We wanted a nimble player to work with,” Microsoft’s Radhesh Balakrishnan said when asked about the choice of Tacit as a partner. “They are betting on Windows as a platform. If this is the Wild, Wild West, we want to be an early player.”

Balakrishnan says Tacit is the WAFS play most supportive of Windows, and server-based WAFS is a better fit for Microsoft than network-centric WAN optimization. While other WAFS vendors’ products work with Windows files, Tacit cooperates most closely with Microsoft developers on features for its next-generation Longhorn server.

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