Microsoft (NSDQ:MSFT)’s virtualization pieces are all either in place, or going to be in place soon, so now’s the time to start thinking about Microsoft as a serious player in the virtualization market.

That’s the message from an event held Monday at Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Wash., where the software giant dished up a series of major announcements on the virtualization front and kicked off what is likely to be a virtualization marketing campaign that drives the whole market forward.

Microsoft in the next 30 days will begin offering the standalone version of its Hyper-V virtualization hypervisor — which previously cost $28 and is also part of Windows Server 2008 — as a free download, a chess move of sorts that follows VMware’s decision in July to do the same with its ESXi hypervisor. … Go to source

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