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5/18/2006
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Microsoft Gobbles Up Whale, Enters Secure Access Market

The deal will enable Microsoft to provide improved remote access, content inspection, and more granular access control for corporate applications accessed from remote locations and devices.

Microsoft has signed an agreement to acquire Whale Communications, a move that enables the software giant to jump into the secure access software market.

Terms of the deal, announced Thursday, weren’t disclosed. Whale, a longtime Microsoft security ISV partner, makes Secure Socket Layer (SSL) virtual private networks (VPN) and Web application firewalls.

Microsoft said the deal will enable it to provide improved remote access, content inspection and more granular access control for corporate applications accessed from remote locations and devices.

Microsoft has teamed with the Fort Lee, N.J.-based Whale in the past. In 2004, Whale developed an appliance that combined Microsoft's ISA 2004 firewall with its SSL VPN secure remote-access solution.

Microsoft didn’t gives details on how it plans to use the technology but noted that it will use Whale's Intelligent Application Gateway and Application Optimizers to add complementary SSL VPN and application-layer filtering capabilities to Windows Server and Microsoft ISA. That will enable site-to-site and remote access VPN and application publishing, Microsoft said.

Microsoft will compete in the crowded secure remote access market against vendors such as Cisco Systems, Juniper Networks and Check Point Software Technologies. Microsoft will also take on one of its key ISV partners: Citrix Systems, whose marketing mantra and product line is based on secure access software and whose fortunes are tied to its secure application publishing platform, formerly known as MetaFrame.

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