Templeton: Citrix Safe From Microsoft

At Citrix&S iForum, Citrix Systems President and CEO Mark Templeton met with Senior Writer Paula Rooney to talk about the vendor and its relationship with Microsoft. Here is an excerpt of their discussion. (For the full interview, click here.)

CRN: At its Professional Developers Conference, Microsoft was quite open about its plans to integrate into Longhorn Server significant enhancements to Terminal Services, including application publishing and seamless Windows, the two most substantial features in Presentation Server. Observers have discussed the extent to which this cuts deeply into Citrix&s revenue stream. Do you have concerns?

Templeton: We really don&t have concerns. We&ve always had a partnership with Microsoft that allows us to understand their direction, and when it comes to broad horizontal basic services markets, they&re great at it. We&ve been the best software company in the world to work with Microsoft to stack on top of its platform.

CRN: What will Citrix do to stay ahead?

Templeton: We need to understand the customer has a deep need for application virtualization and be the vendor that takes the customer up that vertical stack. They can&t develop those vertical stacks themselves. Microsoft is going to deliver a great general-purpose horizontal [operating system] platform, but Citrix builds products that allow them to go deeper than what the platform offers.

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CRN: But Microsoft&s terminal services project for Longhorn Server, code-named RAIL [remote application integrated locally], targets application publishing and seamless Windows, the cash cows of the Citrix dynasty. In the past, Microsoft has steered clear of application publishing.

Templeton: Yes, but you have to watch out for what the words [application publishing] are and what the [Microsoft] technology will actually do. Their application publishing will be the result of [Windows Server] Active Directory work and not specific to the application publishing feature interface.

What you&ll see from Citrix is movement to a broader definition of publishing … like publishing a wider array of enterprise resources, under different delivery models. It&s one of those things we&re the specialist in. If we&re not dynamic and keep moving, then we&re not doing our part.

CRN: Did Microsoft share its plans with Citrix during discussions last year that culminated in the five-year extension. Was it all on the table at that point?

Templeton: Well, a platform transition is a big deal. And for both Microsoft and for Citrix, the worst thing Microsoft could do is leave their partners behind when they move a platform forward because they rely on partners to add value to their platform. That&s what was on the table, making sure Citrix was in good position to make that platform transition in a good, orderly way for the benefit of customers.

CRN: Is it fair to say it will be big competition between Microsoft and Citrix once Longhorn Server ships?

Templeton: No, I&m not sure what race there would be. Every time they increase those basic services it&s an endorsement of application virtualization, increases primary demand and increases the size of the pie—of which we have like 80 percent.