Microsoft is ramping up its virtualization offerings with its newly announced intention to acquire Kidaro, maker of desktop virtualization tools that enhance security, manageability, and mobility.

Kidaro's solution, which helps provide centralized management and deploy of virtual desktop images, uses strong encryption and provides data leakage prevention and policy enforcement capabilities. Virtual desktops can be deployed over an internal private company network or over the Web.

For example, a mobile worker could use any available Windows computer from a remote location to load their virtual desktop, including any required applications, without disturbing the underlying OS. Or, a company could provide a corporate-controlled desktop installed on a USB flash drive that could be used on any support PC.

Microsoft said that it intends to re-brand the Kidaro solution as Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization as part of Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack, which is available to customers that purchase Software Assurance from the company.

Kidaro currently supports the use of both Microsoft Virtual PC and VMware. However, Microsoft did not directly indicate whether support for VMware would be continued.

In January 2008 Microsoft acquired Calisto, maker of related virtualization technology. Calisto's Virtual Dektop (CVD) brings "rich media and 3D graphics" to virtual desktops, and helps "increase the number of users per virtual desktop server resulting in decreased costs."

In July 2006 Microsoft acquired Softricity, maker of application virtualization and dynamic streaming technologies.

Just this month, news of Microsoft's upcoming StartKey technology leaked out. StartKey will reportedly put virtual desktops on a flash drive or secure digital (SD) card, which incidentally goes hand-in-hand with the capabilities of Kidaro's solutions.