Riverbed has licensed Microsoft's Windows 2008 technology to improve the delivery of Microsoft applications to branch offices. The move will integrate Microsoft technology on Riverbed's Steelhead platform using the Riverbed Services Platform (RSP).

The move is a result of Riverbed's decision to sign up last year with the Microsoft Protocol Optimisation Licensing Programme (POLP). According to Mark Lewis, Riverbed's EMEA director, POLP was a way in which Microsoft partners said that the company's participation in the programme meant that it could have access to Microsoft's intellectual property.

"Many vendors would like to write applications that work with Microsoft, POLP gives us the opportunity to do that," he said.

Lewis said that Riverbed already offered the capability of optimising bandwidth for application delivery but what the new agreement means is that services such as print servers could now also be optimised.

The agreement with Microsoft means that Riverbed customers would be able to improve the delivery of services to branch offices, meaning that customers could enjoy a considerable cost saving said Lewis.

"They will be able to save on bandwidth, on server costs, on licensing and manpower," he said. He went on to claim that Riverbed customers would quickly be able to justify the purchase. "According to IDC figures, on average there's a 7.2 month return on investment."

He added that it was particularly effective for companies that had several hundred branches and that it offered a way to fit WAN optimisation into corporate budgets. "There's not a budget line for WAN optimisation," he said, "but there is for bandwidth. And companies are looking for anything to reduce bandwidth costs."