There's been a lot of talk over the past year or so about someone buying Citrix, with rumors ranging from Cisco to IBM to HP to Oracle. And then of course there's the [now] decades old rumor that Microsoft might buy Citrix. Douglas Brown and Jeff Pitsch have both written about this recently, with their consensus being that while there's no real reason for Microsoft to buy Citrix, if another competitor tried to buy Citrix, Microsoft might step in to buy them defensively.
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This is what I thought for a long time as well, and in fact this is what I told a lot of people at VMworld last week when I was asked about Microsoft buying Citrix. But now, I'm not so sure. I'm not sure that Microsoft needs to buy Citrix--even defensively.
The main reason is I don't think Microsoft would care. What does Microsoft need Citrix for today? Microsoft would still get their TSCAL and VECD licensing revenue no matter who owned Citrix. (After all, Windows isn't going away anytime soon .) And now that Microsoft has Hyper-V and SCVMM, they don't need Citrix as much on that front too. And don't forget that Microsoft has been making a lot of their own acquisitions in the last few years, like Softricity, Calista, and Kidaro.
So I think Microsoft would be fine no matter who (if anyone) buys Citrix.
VMware + Citrix?
At the suggestion of VMware buying Citrix (or the two companies merging or whatever), most peoples' first thoughts are, "That is crazy and you are an idiot for suggesting it." But just think about it for a minute before dismissing it. VMware and Microsoft are huge competitors. Citrix and Microsoft are more and more becoming competitors. What if VMware and Citrix teamed up to become THE platform for VDI+? They could become the "new Citrix." (I mean "new Citrix" in the context of how Citrix's relationship has been to Microsoft over the past decade... This partnership is what VMwareCitrix could create.)
Think about their products. VMwareCitrix could (would?) absolutely dominate the space. You take the crazy fragmented market now of VMware, Citrix, Microsoft, Quest, Symantec, Ericom, Leostream, and about 50 other companies you never heard of, and you get THE force in the industry. VMwareCitrix could combine Citrix Provisioning Server (fka "Ardence") with VMware ESX with Citrix's connection broker with VMware's offline VM capability and vClient with Citrix's connection devices with VMware's vCenter with Citrix's ICA protocol.
I'd buy into that product!
Of course Simon Crosby would probably be out, because he's been pretty harsh on VMware for the past year. Then again, VMware has a few openings in the R&D and product management departments, and they could probably use another chief scientist, so maybe there are some good opportunities for Simon?
But VMwareCitrix. Think about it. I can think of worse things, you know? Each of these companies has half a solution today, and they're each working on getting the whole solution. But long term, they're both going to be creamed by Microsoft since Microsoft has a monopoly on the desktop OS, so why not combine now on your own terms instead of in a fire sale way in three years.
How much would Citrix cost? Where would VMware get the money?
I don't know and I don't know--that's not my department. But Citrix was up 5% yesterday at 4x the normal call volume. ;)