VMware makes desktop virtualization move in buying Desktone

Live from VMworld Europe, VMware(s vmw) is buying Desktone, a Boston-based desktop virtualization vendor. The acquisition — terms of which were not disclosed —  was announced Tuesday morning.

In a statement, Sanjay Poonen, VMware’s executive vice president and GM of end-user computing called Desktone a “leader in desktop-as-a-service [that] has a complete and proven blueprint for enabling service providers to deliver DaaS.”

Poonen joined VMware from SAP in August, so this is his first major mark on the company.

At VMworld in August, VMware had already announced plans to offer DaaS, a plan that could be accelerated via this acquisition. Update: It turns out that the DaaS plan announced back then actually revolved around a partnership with Desktone. At that point, negotiations to buy the company were underway, Poonen said in an interview on Tuesday.

Desktop virtualization is one of those technologies that appears to be almost always on the cusp of broad adoption without ever quite making it into the mainstream. In theory, it makes it employee desktops easier to manage and more secure. VMware has been talking about it for a long time, but Citrix(s ctrx), with its XenDesktop offerings, is seen as a leader here.

Poonen said Desktone, because it is based in the cloud and offers those economies, is a cost-effective desktop virtualization story but that desktop virtualization, in and of itself is just part of the overall end-user effort VMware is making. Mobility is another component — where VMware Horizon plays although its appeal has been limited by the types of handsets supported; and social networking is another. There, VMware’s major play is Socialcast, a social network for companies, which was just updated with an “ideation workspace” (huh? a whiteboard perhaps?)  to foster collaboration.

(Update: Here’s  how VMware’s describes the ideation workspace as “a dedicated workspace that provides a structured forum for the management of ideas and innovation.”)

As VMware tries to break out beyond server virtualization, it’s clear it sees this end-user computing category including desktop virtualization, along with its software-defined data center push — as a priority.

Note: This story was updated at 8:32 a.m. PDT with Sanjay Poonen’s comments and more details on VMware’s end user computing news from VMworld Europe.