Channel Vision Cloudy In Citrix GoTo, LogMeIn Spinout

The latest twist in Citrix’ plans to spin off its GoTo business collaboration software division is a proposed reverse merger with LogMeIn that both companies announced Tuesday.

But Citrix and LogMeIn channel partners are waiting to learn what approach the new Boston-based entity, called GetGo, will opt for as far as a channel strategy.

The deal will create a subsidiary of Citrix that will acquire publicly traded LogMeIn for $1.8 billion to create a cloud-based software company with more than 2 million customers and projected annual revenue north of $1 billion.

[Related: After Turbulent Year, New CEO Introduces ’New Citrix’ At Synergy Conference]

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"There’s just no information yet for how this is going to hit the channel," said Carl Gersh, director of sales and marketing at Miramar, Fla.-based Citrix partner Forthright. "It’s extreme to say it doesn’t bode well, but I’m wondering if they are going to be a channel-oriented company at all."

Geoff Woollacott, a principal analyst at Technology Business Research, told CRN that he expects the new company to embrace LogMeIn’s channel leaders and programs, but more will be clear once it’s revealed what personnel come over in the Citrix divestiture.

It’s also possible the company will run two concurrent channel programs for a couple of quarters before rolling both partner bases into a single unified program, Woollacott said.

"One set of partners will certainly have to learn a new way of working in interacting with the combined entity," Woollacott told CRN. "Best guess is the LogMeIn field marketing assets and marketing programs will prevail."

GetGo will be helmed by LogMeIn CEO Bill Wagner. Citrix shareholders will own 50.1 percent, and LogMeIn shareholders 49.9 percent.

LogMeIn, based in Boston, offers a portfolio of remote access, customer engagement and collaboration products, some comparable in function with the GoTo portfolio: GoToMeeting, GoToAssist, GoToMyPC, GoToTraining, GoToWebinar, Grasshopper and OpenVoice.

LogMeIn’s remote meeting platform currently is an alternative in the market to Citrix’ flagship GoToMeeting.

For that reason, Gersh said the deal looks to be more of a land grab for market share than a union of technologies.

"Based on our experience, we don’t see any technology synergy here per se," he told CRN. "It seems what they were looking at here was a consolidating of market share, not of technology."

He expects a best-of-breed approach to developing the new company's portfolio, choosing the superior products from each company, rather than forcing integrations.

Michael Fraser, CEO of Infinite Ops, a Workspace-as-a-Service provider that recently released an automation platform for deploying Citrix environments in the public cloud, said the merger will ultimately result in one less option to choose from in the market for meeting and remote support software.

The Citrix GoTo division was always kept somewhat independent from the Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based software vendor’s core virtualization business, and never represented a major focus for Citrix partners.

But the GoTo products did offer some opportunities for resale commissions, Gersh told CRN, and it’s possible that GetGo will decide the market isn’t one that requires a channel.

"Hopefully, the combined entity will have a channel approach, and it would be awesome if they have a strong channel approach. If they work with solution providers out there, that would be fantastic," Gersh said.

But the impact on resellers will greatly depend on the channel leadership brought in by the executive team from LogMeIn, which launched its first channel program, called LogMeIn Elevate, in 2013 after a decade of operating without one.

Either way, Citrix partners should be pleased that the company is following through on its plans to streamline the business. The divestiture will eliminate uncertainty and doubt, which at this turbulent time in the company’s history is good news for Citrix and its partners, Gersh said.

"It’s nice to hear they’re going to spin it out, and have a plan, and it’ll allow them to focus on core products," Gersh said, adding that’s what partners really want to see from Citrix.

"They are reorganizing and sharpening their focus," Fraser, of Infinite Ops, said, focusing on core products like XenApp, XenDesktop and Citrix Cloud.

"In the end it helps Citrix by showing they will do what it takes to push forward," Fraser told CRN.

Citrix had made clear it was going to shed the GoTo division to focus on its mobility and application portability products at a time of shifting preferences from companies and their employees, Woollacott said.

"The bigger issue will be how to develop a product road map to converge the two installed bases with a lower cost, more user friendly alternative going forward," the research analyst told CRN.

"For now, LogMeIn can milk the cash cow of this installed base and determine how best to converge the competing market offers to solidify the installed base they have acquired," Woollacott said.