ComputerWorld reports that:
Springboard Research has identified Citrix, Virtual Iron and SWSoft as prime candidates for acquisition in 2008 as part of its list of hot predictions for the new year.
The article doesn’t reveal much more than that but it’s a good excuses to consider who may want to buy Citrix, Virtual Iron or SWsoft.
First of all both Citrix and Virtual Iron base their hypervisor on Xen, so a buyer looking for a virtualization vendor would consider one or another probably because of other factors, like the financial situation, the sales channel size, the partners programs, and obviously the acquisition budget.
From a strategical point of view, Citrix based its dominance on the terminal services market so far, which is too reliant on Microsoft technologies to be interesting for any other company but Microsoft.
But at the same time Citrix made several key acquisitions in the application streaming and virtualization domains buying Ardence and XenSource: Microsoft may want to acquire those technologies only in case its own, coming from Connectix and Softricity acquisitions, demonstrated to be too weak.
It’s unlikely Microsoft may want to acquire Citrix to remove an uncomfortable competitor, considering the two act as good partners even if they will actually compete in the virtualization market as soon as Microsoft will release Hyper-V next year.
Virtual Iron surely is less expensive than Citrix, and may be the preferred choice for those companies which want to enter just the virtualization market without facing a huge investment.
The company may be an acquisition target for those vendors like IBM, Novell or Red Hat, which base a part or the entire business on Linux.
Despite the good success obtained by its subsidiary Parallels, SWsoft is mostly interesting because of its OS virtualization technology Virtuozzo, which conquered a large portion of web hosting market.
Also this technology may be interesting for Microsoft which stated one year and a half ago that OS virtualization is another area where to invest.