Microsoft Buys Visio, Softway

Building on separate strategies, Microsoft Corp. purchased two software companies last month.

Adding diagramming tools to its knowledge worker strategy, Microsoft scooped up Visio Corp. (, a supplier of enterprisewide business diagramming and technical drawing software.

Visio 2000, which was compliant with Office applications, enables users to assemble diagrams, technical drawings and information technology models. The software will remain separate, but will complement the Microsoft Office family of business productivity applications.

Visio will be renamed the Visio division, and will operate within Microsoft’s business productivity group, which is charged with delivering solutions that empower knowledge workers. The Visio division will focus on bringing to market the Visio 2000 product editions and on helping Visio customers upgrade to this latest version.

"Together, Microsoft and Visio will bring visualization and diagramming software to a way knowledge workers present their ideas," said Bob Muglia, senior vice president of Microsoft’s business productivity group, in a statement.

Furthering a push toward making the Windows operating systems more interoperable with Unix systems, Microsoft acquired Softway Systems Inc. (, which makes Interix. The suite of Unix utilities and developer tools help developers port Unix scripts and applications to Windows NT with minimal changes to the code.

Redmond currently offers Services for Unix Add-on Pack and Advanced Server for Unix, which was developed in conjunction with AT&T Corp. ( Microsoft also works with Mortice Kern Systems Inc. (, maker of MKS Toolkit and MKS Nutcracker. The efforts with Mortice Kern help developers migrate their applications to run natively on the subsystem 32-bit Windows, so Windows and Unix systems can benefit from Microsoft’s Distributed interNet Architecture.

With this collection of interoperability technologies, Microsoft is hoping that customers will have confidence using Windows NT/2000, and that developers will begin migrating their code to run natively on Windows.