Win Server 2003 Could Erode Market For Citrix


Citrix Systems is touting the benefits of Microsoft Windows Server 2003, but some industry observers say new features in the OS could sway potential low-end customers away from Citrix.

Citrix executives said Windows Server 2003, released last week, provides performance and scalability enhancements to its MetaFrame Access Suite. Indeed, the new OS is "the best platform Microsoft has ever released," said Mark Templeton, president and CEO of Citrix. "It gives us a more robust, more stable and more flexible platform for our entire product suite to run on," he said last week.


Citrix's Mark Templeton: New OS is best platform Microsoft has released.

Windows Server 2003 includes performance enhancements for customers using four-way or eight-way servers, enabling them to support more Citrix users per server, the company said.

In conjunction with the launch of Windows Server 2003, Citrix rolled out Feature Release 3 of its MetaFrame XP Presentation Server, priced at $5,800 for a concurrent 20-user license, and a new collaboration product, MetaFrame Conferencing Manager, priced at $99 per concurrent user.

While MetaFrame XP remains a clear choice for customers that want to run a server-based computing environment that is accessible remotely and supports multiplatform client devices, new capabilities to the Terminal Services portion of Windows Server 2003,such as auto-reconnection, drive redirection and improved manageability,could make the platform robust enough to satisfy more low-end customers, solution providers said.

"Microsoft is making [Terminal Services] better and better and [is making] it harder and harder to sell Citrix," said Jim Gildea, president of Aegis Associates, a solution provider in Watertown, Mass.

The new Windows release satisfies the requirements of 20 percent to 25 percent of server-based computing customers, said David Friedlander, industry analyst at Forrester Research.

As Microsoft improves Windows, Citrix is also improving its platform, maintaining considerable added value for customers, said David Jones, senior vice president of corporate development at Citrix.