NETANYA, Israel Flash memory supplier msystems, whose acquisition by SanDisk has recently been completed, is an early adopter of software suites for Microsoft's Vista operating system.
Msystems is preparing software infrastructure based on Windows Vista, Office System 2007 and Exchange Server 2007, as part of a Microsoft scheme to let customers try the new products before they are released and on existing hardware.
Part of the project has taken place within msystems itself and another part was implemented by the software integrator eWave Ltd. (Glil Yam, Israel). The project is set to provide software infrastructure for msystems' 820 employees in Israel and worldwide, and help with the merging of msystems and SanDisk.
But NAND flash memory is also a key element of the Vista operating system itself, through a feature called EMD for external memory device. This allows USB memory sticks to be used as main memory. The operating system works out what applications and data are most likely to be in use on a given day and at a given time and moves them into the external memory so that the user can stop and start with instant boot facilities. EMD is expected to provide a massive boost to demand for NAND flash memory as it will complement main memory in existing PCs that need a performance boost to run Vista (see Feb. 12 story).
Microsoft benefits because customers will not have to buy a new computer to upgrade to Vista and therefore will upgrade sooner. SanDisk and msystems benefit through demand for flash memory both in add on cards and for future PC designs.
The business ties between Microsoft, msystems and SanDisk are deep and long established. Msystems supplies memory chips to Microsoft's Xbox. SanDisk has already penetrated the MP3 market, while Microsoft launched its Zune brand, which combines portable media players, software and online music service. These facts, among others, have prompted an IDC analyst quoted in the Israeli newspaper TheMarker, to speculate that Microsoft, msystems and SanDisk might join forces to compete with Apple's iPod.
SanDisk recently completed the acquisition of msystems in an all stock transaction estimated to be worth $1.5 billion.