The largest supporter of Windows Home Server calls its quits

When it rains it pours. Last week we learned that Microsoft was dropping the popular Drive Extender feature from the next version of Windows Home Server, codenamed "Vail". Today we here even more damning news: HP is pulling out of the Windows Home Server market.

This is a huge blow to both fans of HP's tiny little MediaSmart Servers and to Microsoft. HP was easily the highest profile and largest shipping customer of Windows Home Server devices and this news could very well be a death blow for the platform.

For its part, HP says that it will instead be focusing on bringing out webOS products in 2011 instead of working on niche products like MediaSmart Server. According to WeGotServed, lower than expected sales for the servers were probably a big reason for pulling out of the market, although the removal of Drive Extender in Vail probably didn't do HP any favors either.

The Windows Home Server Team responded to the news on its blog reiterating that HP will continue selling its current MediaSmart Server products through the end of the year and that it will continue to support its current customers. Microsoft also explicitly denied any claims that the removal of Drive Extender was behind the motivation of HP to abandon the platform.

The future of the Windows Home Server platform doesn't exactly look bright now -- with HP now out of the mix, Microsoft could only offer up Acer and Tranquil as strong supporters of the platform.

“Vail will have a big impact on the home media environment, providing an easy streaming and seamless digital file sharing experience for consumers, and Acer is excited to be alongside Microsoft delivering on this goal,” said Gianpiero Morbello, Acer Group Corporate Vice President Marketing & Brand.

Maybe Microsoft knows something that we don't, but Vail could very well end up meaning "Fail" come next year.

"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997

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