Can Citrix become a Thought Leader again?

Something has changed at Citrix over the past few years. They've gone from a company with a laser focus on the cutting edge of peoples' thinking to a huge company with a muddy message, a severe case of corporate schizophrenia, and a dash of paranoia.

Something has changed at Citrix over the past few years. They've gone from a company with a laser focus on the cutting edge of peoples' thinking to a huge company with a muddy message, a severe case of corporate schizophrenia, and a dash of paranoia. What does this mean for us? It means that while they still make some cool products, they don't have any passion and they don't know how to explain what they're doing and why it's important.

This is a company whose CEO took every single opportunity to mention that their goal was to become a $1B company. Well congratulations Citrix! You’re there.

Now what? $2B? (I'm kidding about this. Please please please don't spend the next five years making people think that growth is your primary reason for corporate existence.)

So how does this whole "thought leader" thing play into this? Accoring to Elise Bauer (via Wikipedia), a thought leader is "the recognition from the outside world that the company deeply understands its business, the needs of its customers, and the broader marketplace in which it operates."

In the 1990s, Citrix was a thought leader. In the early 90s, Ed Iacobucci (Citrix’s founder) laid out a vision for multiple user versions of OS/2 and Windows and how that could provide remote access. In the late 90s, customers were knocking down the door trying to get meetings with Citrix so that they could learn how to use their current building blocks to deploy complex apps to diverse user sets.

Then things changed. The company starting to diversify and they kicked out Ed Iacobucci. Today Citrix desperately wants to be recognized as a thought leader at the C-level within their customers. Certainly they have some big wins in this area. But in general, CXOs are not coming to Citrix for Access strategies. Last year The Inquirer wrote that Citrix is "certainly the most boring IT company in the universe."

Why is this?

Without a doubt, Citrix is trying to bite off a lot more these days than the simple times of the 90s. It's not just that IT is more complex today--it's that Citrix is trying to move "upstream" in corporations and get in at the strategic level and not the tactical level. The challenge to this is that (1) the "strategic" level is a lot more crowded, competition-wise, and (2) Citrix is trying to use the same techniques that worked at the tactical level that don't really work at the strategic level.

The whole "thought leadership" thing boils down to recognition from others; it's the ultimate peer-review. For the past several years, Citrix has been beating the access strategy drum. Unfortunately, true C-level customers are like, "Um, yeah, no shit! How can you (Citrix) help?"

What pains me is that we’re on the cusp of some really major changes in the IT industry with regards to how applications are delivered to users. Virtual Desktop Infrastructures (VDI) are replacing user workstations with remote VM images. .NET applications are moving beyond the stovepipe models of Win32 apps. Softricity is changing the definition of what it means to install an application. Ardence is letting companies re-purpose entire servers in a matter of seconds. Microsoft is building virtualization into the core Windows platform. All of these things are directly within Citrix’s grasp, yet where is Citrix? Why isn’t Citrix out there every day telling us about all the cool things that could be possible, and how they’ll fit in?

Instead, Citrix has gone on the defensive. They’re trying to defend why Presentation Server will still have value in a Longhorn world. They’re trying to defend why Tarpon will still have value now that Microsoft bought Softricity. They’re trying to force Windows SEs to learn about HTTP-based networking gear. They're trying to cram the marketing message down the throats of SEs by adding marketing test requirements to their CCEA and CCIA certifications.

Citrix should be embarrassed! They should be embarrassed that they don’t have a decent VDI solution on the market. They should be embarrassed that they try to force the LiveEdit / Motivus technology onto people when the client security requirements are higher than the ICA Java client. They should be embarrassed that they invested in AppSwing but haven’t told people why. They should be embarrassed that they invested in BioPasswod but their website doesn’t say anything about this. They should be embarrassed that the PS4 certification tests are just coming out a full year after the product was released.

What can Citrix do about this?

I think that it’s not too late for Citrix to really become a thought leader again in this industry. After all, IBM has done this now after near death a decade ago. The Linux threat forced Microsoft to open up and share their ideas, and everyone agrees that the Microsoft of today is much different (and better) than the Microsoft of five years ago. If Citrix is to do this then they'll need a major corporate culture transplant. Citrix has to get past the whole inferiority complex that led them to close up tight.

So what can they do specifically?

  • Start blogging
  • Fix the messaging
  • Something else?

Blogging

Citrix is pretty much the only remaining software company that doesn’t let its employees blog. Setting up a blog would be fast and easy. Why would a blog help? It would let the actual employees who are having cool thoughts share them with the industry.

Take Microsoft for example. They have thousands and thousands of bloggers. As an example of what blogs can do, let's look at the blog of just one group: the Excel product group. This blog shows that Microsoft is a thought leader in the spreadsheet space. They’re talking about the future of spreadsheets, conversations about user experience, getting feedback, etc. If I want to find the “pulse” of the spreadsheet world or if I want to learn about how Microsoft is clued in to spreadsheets, I can do that.

With Citrix? No such luck.

What could Citrix possibly blog about? Here’s a quick list off the top of my head.

  • Why did Citrix invest in AppSwing? What does that mean for Presentation Server? How technology like AppSwing’s evolve? Is there more to this than the short term play of getting Windows apps on a handheld?
  • Why did Citrix invest in BioPassword? Could this technology ever become mainstream? Should customers look at this today? Where’s it useful? Where does it work? When does it not work?
  • How are people using Windows XP for VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) solutions? Is there a fit with Presentation Server?
  • What will Windows applications look like in five years? What will Citrix look like in five years?
  • What happens if Symantec buys Juniper?
  • Will we ever live in a world without Presentation Server software? Will it all be delivered on an appliance?
  • Why is Microsoft using a super old VPN dialer instead of Citrix Access Gateways? What does Citrix being the “Global ISV of the Year” really mean?
  • How is Citrix’s “top down” approach to application and network security different than Juniper or F5’s “bottom up” approach?
  • How has Presentation Server’s EMF-based printing working in the world? Have the recent batch of hotfixes finally fixed the major issues, or are most people still using triCerat or ThinPrint?

If you read the Microsoft or Sun blogs, you’ll see that this is the kind of stuff that they talk about. If Citrix let their employees blog, then when someone hears about some technology or strategy, they could easily see what Citrix employees where thinking about instead of just wondering whether anyone within Citrix had ever heard of it or has any clue at all.

At the CTP meeting last week I was discussing the lack of blogs with some Citrix folks, and one of the responses was, "Well you know, it takes people to manage the blog. You have to make sure that what is written is okay."

I jumped on this saying, "No, no, no! You don't get it. Do not edit the blogs!"

The Citrix employee went on to say, "Well, you have to monitor them to make sure that there is no comment spam or profanity."

Ugh! Is this really the reason that Citrix is not blogging? Of course not. Everyone knows that there are technologies to combat both comment spam and profanity. The real reason that Citrix doesn't blog is because they're afraid of letting go, control-wise.

Of course my true fear here is that Citrix will start blogging soon, but that they’ll do a half-assed job and mess it up. Citrix is really good at announcing stuff to quiet the critics but then not really following through.

If Citrix lets their employees blog, they cannot censor or modify what they say. Sure it’s important to ensure that no private intellectual property gets out there, but that's something the company has to do anyway. I can foresee Citrix coming down on employees who don’t toe the party line, but I’m hoping that Citrix will instead provide raw access to the thinkers within the company.

Fix the Marketing

Access is so 2003. That whole “access” campaign was great for C-level people, but Citrix seriously needs to change the message they deliver to technical folks. You can’t run the same ad in BusinessWeek that you run in Windows & .NET Magazine.

Citrix is the only company I know whose strategy is one word. Here’s the way the conversation goes.

Customer: What’s your corporate strategy?
Citrix: Access!
Customer: What does that mean?
Citrix: It’s all about access?
Customer: Sooo… what products do you sell?
Citrix: We sell access infrastructure

My point is this: Ever since Citrix started to diversify away from being a pure MetaFrame company, they’ve forgotten how to do technical marketing. The “Access” messaging makes for a good story for executives, but it’s not a strategy, and it certainly does not resonate with the geeks who actually install, manage, configure, and deploy the products.

What else does Citrix need to do to become a thought leader? Share your ideas in the comments section of this article.

The Crossroads

Now is a critical time for Citrix. The world is changing. Citrix must show that they’re truly engaging with the community.

If they don't, the community will leave them. The community has already started cobbling together VDI solutions with Terminal Services and 2X. And with Longhorn Terminal Services, Virtualization, Softricity-based app installations, Network Access Protection and Anywhere Access portals all being released from Microsoft as “good enough” platforms, Citrix risks fading away into another “has been” of the industry.

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man Brian, when you are right you are right.  I am tired of the same ole message coming from these guys.  I love the technology and I'm a true evangelist of the technology, but I will soon be looking elsewhere if they don't change their tune and get with the program.  They can preach "access" all day long, but until IT and the business figure out how to benefit from technology together to grow their businesses, Citrix's message will continue to fall on more and more deaf ears.
 
Power to the people man!!!!!!  LOL
 
Keep up the pressure everyone....it's the community that will be the force that Citrix has to listen to evetually.  Mark T. has always said that it's the partners and the techies that put this company where it is today.  Well we can just as easily take that away....I think it's time for Citrix to buy a ticket on the clue bus!!!!!

Cheers everyone
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Brain you are 100 procent right, its if i hear my own mind when i am driving in my car but then 100 procent better.
 
I am still thinking did i made the right decission to go TS community, i still dont know.
Citrix have to change fast, give us a silver and gold and premium and whatever better technical support and feedback.
 
The only thing i have seeing changed is more technical articles on their website, comparing it to sereval years ago.
 
i agree with the education and the commercial *** for the online exams.
 
they are microsoft partner, they can learn a lot from microsoft about marketing.
 
we are one year further now, still the education is not finished , still no new features or new citrix release.
 
 
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Speaking of access to Citrix employees and involving the community, Citrix is hosting a Webinar today ( 7/19 4:00-5:00 EST ) on the topic of SDK's. This is a chance to hear about Citrix SDK's, talk with "Dr SDK" and give us your opinions on how we can help the community with better SDK's.
 
Community involvement in the form of integration with Citrix products is a great indicator of the value that Citrix customers, partners and consultants can bring to the overall value of the platform. When the community shares these improvements, extentions and integrations we all win.
 
Join us at the link below, or if you miss it a recording will be available at citrix.com/cdn
 
https://www.gotomeeting.com/join/636306033
Conference Call: 1.888.371.8921
617.614.4893 (Int'l)
Code: 275279
Meeting ID: 636-306-033
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I would like to touch on Brian's point that Citrix is not focused.  This is perhaps true, but it is true for all companies as they get larger.  Microsoft and IBM to use a few of his examples have a huge spectrum of product and service offerings.  
 
Brian also said that the world is changing and Citrix was not.  I think it is true that Presentation Server is a mature product. That doesn’t mean it will go away anytime soon.  This is the reason why citrix is moving to other products.
 
Third, he said Citrix's marketing sucks.  I’m not in a position to judge it, but I think their Online division marketing is really good.
 
Fourth, he said that Citrix isn’t open with information.  There is probably some merit to that comment.  But it probably isn’t as bad as he says.  There are numerous events throughout the year where customers can directly talk to engineers and other employees.  There are support forums available, and assumedly employees are allowed to post to their own forums.  Citrix publishes many knowledge base articles and an advanced concepts guide with a lot of more technical detail.
 
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I think Citrix's problems with engagement with SE's is evident in their beta process. It's very difficult to get your hands on beta code and even more difficult to get feedback to them, even for Platinum partners. Of course Citrix is not a Microsoft in regards to their products, but who is going to have the biggest feedback on the development process - users, meaning us. Luckily we have an excellent technical contact locally within Citrix from who we get great support, but I don't know what its like for everyone else.
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ORIGINAL: aaronep

Luckily we have an excellent technical contact locally within Citrix from who we get great support, but I don't know what its like for everyone else.


Here's how it is for the rest of us.

http://www.brandens.net/files/Sounds/FX/Animals/CRICKET.WAV

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Wow, Brian!  Man, put down the bottle and get some help.   There's gotta be an Alcoholics Anonymous in your area, give them a call.  Reading this reminds me of my 10 year old who does not get his way and pulls a temper tantrum. 


Why do you think you are privy to business descisions a company makes? 



And why is there this constant comparison to Microsoft and its policies?  Microsoft is a massive company with tens of thousands more employees and billions upon billions more in cash as well as a monopoly.  Easy for Office people to divulge their intent; they have no real competition. 



Do you think that Citrix employees have all the time in the world to sit and blog?  I bet there are heaps of them pulling 12 hour days and weekends just to get software out the door.  Forget what some moron you spoke to at Citrix said about blogging.  And why do they throw the morons at you anyway?



Do you realize that any publically traded company is not beholden to its employees, customers, community and 'independent analysts'?  The only thing they are beholden to is the share holder, so yeah, expect Citrix to talk about $1 Billion and beyond.  It is their duty.  Don't like the capitalist rules?  Go lobby in your town of D.C. and see how far you get.

Do the readers a favor and learn how to provide constructive critique as opposed to venting like a drunk.  You loose credibility.  If it is a cult following you want, go hype up GraphOn or Sun or whatever. 


We all see you are the king of the world, but realize you didn't create SBC and you or your employees don't own it.  Seems like you pounded the table and got the CTP thing, good work, well deserved.  But, damn, man get a life.   Drop the booze and go to church or something before you really blow it for you and your employees by looking as unprofessional as it gets or getting a DUI or something stupid like that.  Honestly, man, get some help!



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<Quote>
Wow, Brian!  Man, put down the bottle and get some help.   There's gotta be an Alcoholics Anonymous in your area, give them a call.  Reading this reminds me of my 10 year old who does not get his way and pulls a temper tantrum. 
<quote>


I totally agree with this anonymous person. It is very hard to compare Microsoft and Citrix in any way or form in regards to business model. It is also true Citrix obiligations are to its shareholders only. I personally find Citrix very helpful anytime I call them and devulge alot of information when i request it. I personally dont think it is in Citrix's interest to blog everything. I would however suggest there techies and devleopers particpate more in the citrix forums.

The CTP program is underway and you are a particpant but you stab citrix in the back with this article and feed from there hand in the CTP article.It seems like you back stab and kiss ass at once.
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Is this anonymous person agreeing with their own post?

Share holder obligations are one thing, but if "we" stop recommending Citrix applications, their sales and stock will tank.  It's more important to me that they add features that >=90% of the users want/need, instead of pushing stuff that >=90% of us have no need or interest.

Talk about a temper tantrum, this anonymous article reply was a bit out there... and for all we know was posted by someone's 10 year old.

I personally don't care if Citrix blogs or not, but think they'd better tap the pulse of their new CTP awardees for what people really want.

ORIGINAL: Guest

<Quote>
Wow, Brian!  Man, put down the bottle and get some help.   There's gotta be an Alcoholics Anonymous in your area, give them a call.  Reading this reminds me of my 10 year old who does not get his way and pulls a temper tantrum. 
<quote>


I totally agree with this anonymous person. It is very hard to compare Microsoft and Citrix in any way or form in regards to business model. It is also true Citrix obiligations are to its shareholders only. I personally find Citrix very helpful anytime I call them and devulge alot of information when i request it. I personally dont think it is in Citrix's interest to blog everything. I would however suggest there techies and devleopers particpate more in the citrix forums.

The CTP program is underway and you are a particpant but you stab citrix in the back with this article and feed from there hand in the CTP article.It seems like you back stab and kiss ass at once.
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Patrick,

Have you every worked for an ISV?  Better yet, have you ever worked as a Product Manager of a major product?  Do you know how many people are pulling and tugging to get the PM's attention, demand feature support, etc?  Do you have any idea about the P&L work that goes into adding features to software or the cost of a single feature?  Believe it or not, engineers demand payment for their work and they don't come cheap!  Not to be rude, but the SBC cult seems shockingly as ignorant and arrogant as the Citrix management they accuse of not doing what they want.  Let me ask you this, if Microsoft is so great, smart and rich, what have they done lately in SBC that makes them thought leaders?  With their billions of dollars and free thinking blogging employees, why have we seen little to nothing that is truly new?   They own the code, Citrix only rides on top of it.  WTF is wrong with you guys?  Lighten up a bit, its only software, not a religion. 
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I work for myself, and I'm well aware of the BS that is often required to get a single feature added, if you have to go thru the entire heirarchy.  Some features take 1 day to create, but 1 year to get to the desk of the person doing the coding.  If however you have access to people in the development side of things, you can get a lot done in a short amount of time.
 
I manage an EMR application that's used by thousands of clinics and hospitals, and deal directly with the developers on most issues and feature requests because:
 
A.  I'm really good a QA
B.  I listen to my clients
C.  I'm a virgo, so I'm very picky about details
D.  I tend not to b!tch, but rather give detailed recommendations on solutions
 
I'm not a person that only deploys terminal servers for a living, but make a living as a business analyst in healthcare where Citrix happens to be used a hell of a lot.
 
No one is saying we want Citrix to be Microsoft, or the other way around, just that Citrix might want to look around as they're not the only vendor in the SBC market anymore.  With the other SBC vendors I have the phone numbers and have talked to their CTO & CEO by simply sending an email requesting more info about their products, and stating that I wanted info from the executive level, not marketing.
 
I may have been born at night, but it was not last night.
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People are jumping ship in the engineering department.  I have a friend who works there and even the inventor of Seamless has quit.  He's looking to leave himself.
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ORIGINAL: Patrick Rouse

I personally don't care if Citrix blogs or not, but think they'd better tap the pulse of their new CTP awardees for what people really want.



We use Citrix as our desktop system internally and it gives us excellent home and remote working functionality. It is second to none as far as I'm aware. But each year, it gets increasing difficult to justify due to poor local device connectivity (phones, PDA etc) and difficulties of working with live video and multimedia. The pressure to allow people to work locally on their PC grows which I don't have a problem with as such expect we loose TCO and I'd be immediately asking for more IT support staff.

As a developer, I appreciate the difficult task that Citrix actually does manage to pull off but I think PS does have a limited life. The biggest TCO saving is the central installation and support. Once that is truely overcome with virtual environments, pushing applications from a server etc etc so we can have hot desking/remote working that really does work without hiccups, then PS has had it's day IMHO.

Cheers, Rob.
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Your right on one thing about the $1 billion but the very simple fact your missing is that what value does that add to customers?  You have to fit the message to the appropriate people.  Customers don't care if Citrix wants to become a billion dollar company, in fact, by throwing that in the face of customers they turn them off because it shows that all Citrix cares about is getting there money instead of actually helping them out.  That's marketing 101.
 
As for the rest, the other simple fact is that all large companies became large because they acted like large companies to begin with.  If your going to play with the big boys, you need to act like you belong there.  Citrix is currently not doing this and needs to decide whether they want to be one fo the big boys and actually lead or step aside and let someone else in that will take the bull by the horns and lead the market space.
 
Always makes me laugh when people make these posts especially anonymously.
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For all we know it's one of these "12 hour a day" Citrix employees that the anonymous poster wrote about :).
 
As if the rest of us don't work long hours.  I think this post has exhausted itself.
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The CTP program is underway and you are a particpant but you stab citrix in the back with this article and feed from there hand in the CTP article.It seems like you back stab and kiss ass at once.


What exactly about this article is stabbing Citrix in the back? And where do I kiss ass? I think the CTP program is excellent, and I'm glad Citrix is doing it. But this article is about what Citrix needs to do for the market in general to re-take their position as a thought leader in this industry. We need Citrix to help us navigate down the road of how applications are deployed/made available to end users. What in the world does that have to do with the CTP?

The CTP program and this article are not at all related, and I don't think I'm "stabbing" them at all. If you do, please tell me specifically which parts of this article you don't agree with? I'm always interested in others' opinions!

Brian
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My esteemed colleague Jeff Pitsch made the statement, "If your going to play with the big boys, you need to act like you belong there.  Citrix is currently not doing this and needs to decide whether they want to be one fo the big boys and actually lead or step aside and let someone else in that will take the bull by the horns and lead the market space".  My thinking here is that Mark T and company are sometimes still living by the old rules of business and that one rule was:  BIG DOGS OWN THE STREET.  That is not the case these days.  The rule now, in these times of rapid fire business climate changes, is AGILE IS BEST; BEING BIG CAN BITE YOU.  Citrix has made some moves that I have questioned and some that made perfect sense as it related to what the overall corporate strategy seemed to be at the time.  They (Citrix) need to be more open with the community as a whole and share some of the strategy with the community that made them who they are today.   The CTP program is a great first step, but Brian is right.  They need to wake up and smell the coffee and be that leader in this industry that I'm sure we all want them to be.  To the poster that wrote that shareholder value is all they care about...I think that is true, but that is another antiquated rule of business.  Shareholders nowadays are flipping shares like $2 prostitutes, so that argument doesn't hold water and they should focus on the one thing that will bring them back to a leader.  This is where Patrick was right in what he said.  Citrix needs to listen to the customer more.  The rule is:  THE CUSTOMER IS KING.  A prime example here:  "Think Apple, which has from inception been predicated on dreaming up what the customers want before they know it."  This is where Citrix has to be, otherwise they will become another one of the forgotten many in this industry.  I for one would hate to see that.  I would like Mark T to be a more courageous CEO.  Citrix should be a $2billiion a year company instead of a $1billion.  I think the moves that Mark and his team have made will take some time to bear fruit and maybe they are ahead of their time, we shall see won't we. 
 
Cheers
 
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Hey.. great comments.. thanks for posting. There is a lot to think about here, but on the main points:

1. CTXS stock drop is due to their earnings missing the 2Q analyst guesses. Thankfully it's not related to what we're doing here!

2. I think that Citrix is moving in the right direction, opening up-wise. The CTP is a start.. Let's hope this grows into other areas.

Great points though.. and thanks!!

Brian
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And here I thought my comment made the stock drop.  If only I had such influence... :)
 
ORIGINAL: Brian Madden

Hey.. great comments.. thanks for posting. There is a lot to think about here, but on the main points:

1. CTXS stock drop is due to their earnings missing the 2Q analyst guesses. Thankfully it's not related to what we're doing here!

2. I think that Citrix is moving in the right direction, opening up-wise. The CTP is a start.. Let's hope this grows into other areas.

Great points though.. and thanks!!

Brian

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Have some patience..
 
Anyone read "The road ahead"? Anyone remember the original .Net strategy Microsoft shouted about around 2001-2002? (if not, see http://www.windowsecurity.com/articles/The_Microsofts_NET_strategy.html)
They are still building this, but not that obvious as it might seem. We, People, customers and our cultural behaviour were not ready for it yet. Step by step we are growing into this. Slowly but silently Microsoft is building this platform. .Net Passport familiar to anyone? See for instance what WinFX can do. And look into the way Microsoft is re-inventing their user profiles.
 
Currently, I think virtualisation is the true hype. Sure there are advantages to it, but it does not solve all your challenges. Do not get distracted by this, virtualisation will only play a partial role in what IT is about in the near future. Instead have a look at real grid computing, ongoing research to overcome challenges that are not so in your face. Grid computing for sure is not about virtualisation. Virtualisation will only be part of what we will be learning as grid computing.
 
Citrix currently is all about Access, controling, securing and delivering Access to environments like these. Sure AAC is avant-garde, but WinFrame was not finished the first release either. Also virtualisation will only be part of what Citrix has in mind. It is easy to bash Citrix for what you think they should do. Instead, early realize there is no Citrix, but a massive movement of changing customer demand feeded by cultural development not controlled by Citrix or Microsoft or any other vendor alone. The way people spent their time has drastically changed during the last 20 years. Look into why and how this will change during the next 20 years.
 
I think it's too obvious, but we, people, customers and our cultural behaviour have to grow into this. If we are not ready, no company can sell us its products. ie Could Apple sell us iPods by the millions if there were no digital documents (music)?
 
Mark my words, we've experienced alot of centralization lately, currently we see more de-centralization going on, and in the near future we will see a new breed of centralization again. Centralization of controlling, securing and managing information. Sure virtualisation is going to help us do that, but there are more forces at work here. There, does the Access strategy fits in?
 
subsequently, rad
 
currently listening to Base Ibiza
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You just said a lot of nothing!
 
I am sick of the "Access" Strategy.
 
Citrix tells me that MSAM is a core "Access" component.
I get certified on MSAM. I promote MSAM.
Citrix kills MSAM. 
 
The strategy that makes sense to me is putting Citrix PS on VMWARE.
Many apps will need their dedicated PS boxes on their servers apart from VMWare.
Install Softricity. Use Softricity for apps that need the local delivery of apps on a LAN.
These Softricity Applications will be delivered to Citrix sessions.
VMWare does Clustering - fault tolerance and Failover for the Virtual Machines
 
Now you have full centralization through virtualization.
 
Citrix would be very foolish to make Tarpon part of their Access Suite.
It
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Brian,
 
Hate to be anonymous, but I never took the time to register.  I agree with most of what you said and the comments of Jeff and Patrick.  I recall when Citrix was the buzzword, it was "cool" thing to implement.  This was back in the day of WinFrame.  I recall listening to a podcast with you and Rick Dehlinger, Rick was talking about the old NFuse product when he dreamt up Columbia, the person who wrote Columbia (sorry the name escapes) was slapped by Citrix and this was a few years ago.  If Citrix is that controlling of its employees something is wrong.  What happen to Citrix's vision???  I really haven't seen really any visionary products come out lately.  The new PS looks neat (Project Constellation) but nothing really that I am in awe of.  Citrix's acquistions have been interesting.  Out of all of them I think the Net6 acquisition was best, the others I haven't really seen implemented into any vision.  I was at summit this past year and Mark T was like the buzzword is "virtualization" and was like "We came up with that and have been using it since Citrix's inception", I said to myself this guy has to be kidding.  I am mean really, no disrespect to Mark T, I think he makes money for the company and all, but the message is just wrong.
 
Might as well start a new paragraph.  I will not even get into the Citrix certification process, all I can say is that they are trying to profit off of people and that is just wrong when it comes to certifying ones self on one of their products.  Not to even offer an upgrade exam to PS 4.0 and to take a required eLearning course, just sends the wrong message.  The whole CCIA grading debacle was just a slap in many of our faces. 
 
I don't know if blogging is the answer, but I believe a more open discussion with Citrix and the consultants that implement their products should be entertained.  Sure they have PTEC, but there are very few members of that.
 
Guess it all comes down to communication, something Citrix has been lacking for some time now.
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I have been very fortunate to have cultivated many relationships within Citrix over the years with many product managers and the most senior engineers and a few things stand out for me.
1. These guys are always thinking about what comes next and there are very few ideas that I present to them that they have not already thought about themselves. The future of presentation server and is in good hands.
2. They want to be seen as a solutions provider and know that they have to do a better job at the C level and have hired Mick Hollison away from Microsoft where he was responsible for the development and outbound delivery of marketing messages targeting C-level executives. During his tenure, he led a worldwide network of nine executive briefing centers delivering over $4 billion in influence revenue per year, and produced top-level customer events such as the Microsoft CEO Summit. (this was taken from the Citrix website). http://www.citrix.com/English/aboutCitrix/leadership.asp?bioID=24725
3. They need to work with partners such as IBM and HP more effectively to push sales. These are the companies who have the open invitations into the CxO's office and who can help push forward the message.
4. When they focus on products that are complementary to the suite they excel. When they put out feelers on trying to expand into things like identity management they don't. You gotta stick with what got you there.
5. When Mark T. explains the vision you get it. When the sales teams or SE's explain it the results are not as good.
6. Product development and the CFO are tied together very tightly. Unless an idea can be productized you have little hope of releasing it. This keeps great ideas such as project IRIS or pandemic pricing for presentation server on the shelves. It works great but will it ever be released in any form?
7. They do recognize that they can be more open and attending briforum was a big step for them as well as finally getting the CTP going.
 
 
Captain J 
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Comment about a previous comment.
 
Someone in a previous comment mentioned Microsoft owns Terminal Services, perhaps they own the name, but I think Citrix still owns the multi-windows kernal patent and Microsoft is leasing it from Citrix. I'm sure the ageement has a non-compete of sorts, otherwise MS would come out with application load balancing and application publishing. 
 
If Microsoft owns the Multi Windows Kernal patent, can someone please post a link to where this information is.??
 
I'm all for Citrix employees and consulting services sharing technical deployment practices strgegies and methodologies, but if the best of the best information was made freely available, ie. blogging etc... wouldn't it be a great marketing tool for increasing their customer base.
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Microsoft owns TS core source it is apart of Windows, Microsoft bought it from Citrix.  Sure the patent is still owned by Citrix as they didn't sell off the patent but they already negociated in 97 for Microsoft to use the patent.  Unless there's something else to the agreement, Microsoft paid that debt off already.  So it's irrelevant unless another OS wants to use that patent in which case they would need to buy it from Citrix.  In anycase case Citrix and Microsoft also have a 5 year cross-patent sharing agreement which means Microsoft can also use any Citrix patented technology free of charge.
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As a technical point, the only way to fullfill their obligations to their shareholders is to cater to their customers. I.e. If they don't make a product I as a consultant can justify, then I won't recommend their product and it won't sell. Being able to justify a solution means combining all the information about a company and comparing it with other companies (or solutions):
 
1. Company Stability (are they going to be around 3,5,10 years from now)
2. Access to support (blogging would be a positive)
3. Product Feature/Functionality (Specifically just those features that fill a _current_ company need)
4. Price
5. etc
 
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Anonymous
 
Thanks for the information. You seem knowledgable about this subject. I am very interested in the details of the Citrix/MS agreement, do you know if there is any published information about it?? Is it public information?
 
Sorry if this is off topic. But I still think there is something in the Citrix/MS agreement that is holding MS back from adding certain features to TS.
 
ScottC.
 
 
 
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I do not know the details of the agreement however:
 
http://news.com.com/Microsoft,+Citrix+strike+patent-sharing+deal/2100-1016_3-5499442.html
 
I can give you some speculation.  Since when has Microsoft ever negoicated a deal in which they would come out a loser?  Take the original DOS, Microsoft struck a deal with IBM in which they not only get to distribute their OS with the equipment, they maintained all rights to the OS software.  They also negociated to simply take the source off the hands off someone who wrote it without telling them what they were going to do with it.
 
Microsoft owned TS clear and free already after that last license expired a few years back, you remember it?  So, since TS is closed source Citrix needs source in order to conintue to build on top of it.  So this benefited Citrix more than anything else, I doubt Microsoft would then artifically just limit themselves from expanding their product just to let Citrix release theirs.
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From the article to show where I am comming from:
 
"Access to Microsoft's technologies will allow Citrix to build new versions of its server-access software, called Citrix MetaFrame Access Suite, which runs in conjunction with Microsoft's Windows Terminal server product, the companies said. "
 
Again, don't take this as fact because I don't know the details but you can draw your own conclusions.
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Citrix doesn't do virtualization they manage multiple users on a machine.  The closest thing to "Virtualization" would be the Isolation project that just came out not too long ago and that isn't even full virtualization it's only partial virtualization at basically an API level on an application basis. 
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Nobody takes the time to write this kind of article unless they really care about the products and the company.  If it hurts at first when you read it, that just means that you still care about your work too.
 
One of the biggest problems in this type of communication is that we as customers do not see the constraints and assumptions that are being applied inside Citrix.  I remember how frustrated I used to get at IBM for their "stupid" decisions with OS/2.  These "stupid" decisions didn't seem so stupid after I got a chance to sit down with John Thompson and get his side of the story.  I still didn't agree with the way that IBM was handling OS/2, but I could also see that IBM's actions were designed to meet IBM's goals and were very logical from their perspective.  So, when you see a "stupid" move by Citrix, you can bet that move is right in line with their strategy, whether you see the logic of it or not.
 
Here's the other side of that problem.  How many times have you made a suggestion for a product and heard "nobody is asking for that"?  Hmm...if I just asked for that feature, and nobody is asking for it...that makes me a nobody?  Citrix needs to understand that uber-geeks like people in the Citrix Technology Professional program have a perspective that is invaluable.  If what they say doesn't make sense to you, then find out why it doesn't make sense.  If you take the time to do this you will find the facts that defend their position - facts that you didn't have before.  This will lead you to a better understanding of your market.  In my estimation, a Brian Madden or Rick Dehlinger opinion is worth about 50K "regular license" opinions and Citrix should treat them accordingly.
 
What's the bottom line?  Citrix is able to make money because people like us persuade companies to buy their products.  I'm sure that they think it's because they are marketing to C-level people, but in every company I know, it's the staff technologists that actually propose and prove solutions inside the company, not the CIO.  So, in the brutal world we live in, you can do the marketing work for Citrix while they thumb their nose at you, or you can find another technology to support.  Maybe in some fairy-land future, technologists will learn to respect Citrix and Citrix will in turn respect technologists.
 
Me?  I'm not holding my breath.
 
Best Regards,

Jack Cain
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That is correct. I am inside at Citrix and I see alot of things that we do to provide the customers with access (no pun intended) to the deep thinkers. We are constantly pushing to improve the current product line and our future technologies are sure to fit inline with business needs. The article comes off a little bit like we blindly are building technologies that we hope will fit a business need and then offer no insight to the customers on how to use the products. Frankly I feel like you all are awefully lazy if you can't read the documentation that is clearly provided. You could spend years trying to learn everything there is to know about current product offerings and your whining about not knowing what is coming next. Well I have news for you.... that is called a competitive advantage.
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Well, i have read this article and associated postings, and would like to offer my view. I believe that this shows Citrix true colours. I have always felt that Citrix was a "lazy" company, and that having originated a truely unique product in Winframe/MetaFrame/PS that they would struggle from here on in.....
 
I have always felt that Citrix developed a culture whereby they lived off the back of a singular inovative product, and then believed that they could use the momentum of this to sell very ordinary software with their existing channel....
 
If we look at The likes of VideoFrame, RMS, IMS, through to PM, MSAM, Extranet you will see a common thread, where these products failed to capture the imagination, and when confronted with seasoned products from other established vendors, effectivly flopped....
 
As for becoming a $1 Billion dollar comany, I feel that if that is the best "vision" that they can come up with, then to be honest, I would be happy to see them fall flat on the faces. That to me does not endear me with the company, buy me in to the vision, or indeed, make me appreciate the idea of investing time and money with them at all. (Maybe thats just a European view, and not the "American Way"). And yes, it is all about shareholders, but inovation, vision, and growth of the right culture would always lead to the magical dollar value, and continue to deliver after that as well, we just don't need that rubbed in our faces. I feel very sorry for the "Citrites?" who have to live with this sort of corporate nonsense, and stupid names as well.... 
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just a quick reply on your statement ("I'm sure the ageement has a non-compete of sorts, otherwise MS would come out with application load balancing and application publishing." ) :
 
- MS is building a kind Application Publishing in Longhorn (through delivery of .msi files, I tought)
- MS is building seamless windows in Longhorn
- so yes, lots of features left in PS, but those we really use ? yep: application load balancing will not be built into longhorn (but is it worth 400$, especially if we now can homogenise all servers thanks to softricity, and just use them as a processing pool?)
 
 
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Why do so many in this community consider $1 Billion as the "Citrix Vision?"  I don't believe I have ever heard that out of any executive's mouth or read it in any official statement.

$1 billion is a revenue goal that the Citrix community should be stoked about.  More revenue leads to more CFO which lead to more profits which lead to better EPS and eventually higher market cap.  A stronger financial company is in a better position to spend on R & D (see MSFT, IBM, GE.)

Please, stop confusing finance and shareholder objectives with product and company vision it just makes one look short-sighted and of course, myopic to say the least.

If you want "vision" begin your journey at page 3 of the 2005 Annual Report and then move onto page 5.
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Why do so many in this community consider $1 Billion as the "Citrix Vision?"
 
Well, you've answered your own question here. If this is not Citrix's vision, then why do so many people believe it is? The whole point here, is that yes, I believe there are glossy brochures spouting how Citrix have a great vision, but that is not the message that is getting out. It is not a question of confusing the issues, but assessing the messages that are being received.
 
Why should i have to read annual reports to get the vision? Citrix must have a pretty lame marketing department if thats how they rely on getting the message across.
 
And yes, the $1 Billion vision WAS put to me by a Citrix executive.
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You must not deal with them very much or been to an iForum because I hear it all them time as do many others.  Do you seriously think a bunch of techies would say this for no reason?  Do you think we would somehow mistake the financial reports for marketing material?  Please don't insult our intelligence.
 
 
ORIGINAL: Guest

Why do so many in this community consider $1 Billion as the "Citrix Vision?"  I don't believe I have ever heard that out of any executive's mouth or read it in any official statement.

$1 billion is a revenue goal that the Citrix community should be stoked about.  More revenue leads to more CFO which lead to more profits which lead to better EPS and eventually higher market cap.  A stronger financial company is in a better position to spend on R & D (see MSFT, IBM, GE.)

Please, stop confusing finance and shareholder objectives with product and company vision it just makes one look short-sighted and of course, myopic to say the least.

If you want "vision" begin your journey at page 3 of the 2005 Annual Report and then move onto page 5.

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This forum is not the correct place for religious proselytising. Please keep your faith to yourself.
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I have two things to comment on.  One, your words would have more impact if you actually used proper grammar, spelled your words correctly and punctuated properly. 
 
Two, I have no idea who Brian Madden is, never met the man nor have I met anyone who has posted a reply to his initial blog however, all of you seem to think you know everything about Citrix.  I'm sure all of you are extremely intelligent and probably do a lot of research.  Some of you may have even worked at Citrix at one time or another. 
 
I suggest you spend a day at Citrix and talk to the people that work there who are extremely passionate about their jobs at Citrix and to whom one anonymous person refers to as lazy.  Who knows, maybe Brian Madden has spent a day there? 
 
The company is made up of the people who work there.  It is not an entitiy unto itself, it does not run on "Virtuality".  I of course cannot speak for anyone who works there but perhaps no one blogs at Citrix because they feel that you really do not know Citrix or it's people.  Mr. Cain's reply was the only intelligent one I could find.  Citrix may have it's faults but I don't believe cursing and going on a tirade is really very helpful.  You may incite some action from employee's to reply to your blog but really, don't you think the executives there are a little too intelligent to respond to your blog in any way? 
 
I don't believe executives from any company would base any decisions on a blog on the internet.  If that is what you are hoping for, as Mr. Cain said, I wouldn't hold your breath. 
 
 
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ORIGINAL: Guest

I have two things to comment on.  One, your words would have more impact if you actually used proper grammar, spelled your words correctly and punctuated properly. 



The company is made up of the people who work there.  It is not an entitiy unto itself, it does not run on "Virtuality".  I of course cannot speak for anyone who works there but perhaps no one blogs at Citrix because they feel that you really do not know Citrix or it's people.  Mr. Cain's reply was the only intelligent one I could find.  Citrix may have it's faults but I don't believe cursing and going on a tirade is really very helpful.  You may incite some action from employee's to reply to your blog but really, don't you think the executives there are a little too intelligent to respond to your blog in any way? 


 
If you are going to complain about others' punctuation skills, you should acquire some of your own first. I'd recommend starting with the apostrophe.
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Hmmmm, we all have far too much time on our hands.....
 
Times change, a company will change, the industry will change, and Citrix will change along with it.
 
Cheers to the Grammer Teachers!
 
T
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ORIGINAL: Guest

I have two things to comment on.  One, your words would have more impact if you actually used proper grammar, spelled your words correctly and punctuated properly.  

The company is made up of the people who work there.  It is not an entitiy unto itself, it does not run on "Virtuality".  I of course cannot speak for anyone who works there but perhaps no one blogs at Citrix because they feel that you really do not know Citrix or it's people.  Mr. Cain's reply was the only intelligent one I could find.  Citrix may have it's faults but I don't believe cursing and going on a tirade is really very helpful.  You may incite some action from employee's to reply to your blog but really, don't you think the executives there are a little too intelligent to respond to your blog in any way? 


 
Then, please move on to the lesson for commas: They are needed when used with a conjunction and not needed when used improperly as a "splice." 
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Come out from behind the "Guest" tag and show yourselves..........
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Well,

I think Citrix Online is continually raising the bar is all areas. Your rant sounds like a desperate attempt to validate your misfortune. Do you work for WebEx by any chance? It sounds like you bought the wrong stock and are a bit bitter. Citrix Online is growing carefully with fabulous new technology. I don't know what papers you are reading, but this blog is ridiculous. However, I support your right to post it.


:) Mike
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I agree with the fact that Citrix does need to change their messaging a little, but what bugs me is that while some sit here and criticize Citrix, the same nay-sayers are still out making millions because of the Citrix name. Don't fault Citrix for creating a niche (access) and providing direction (Access Strategies) and providing support and services (Consulting) for this need. Citrix is one of the few company who continues to re-invent themselves through acquisitions, product diversity and channel initiatives. 
 
Many of you may scream to the hill about how much Citrix needs to change, but in silence and alone, you praise them. It's okay. Citrix isn't going anywhere anytime soon. 
 
Here's a thought: The next customer that wants to buy a pair of Citrix Netscaler boxes for Web acceleration, are you going to say, "I don't know Mr. Customer, Citrix has been a thought leader lately" or will you say "No problem Mr. Customer, I'll take that PO now, and would you also be interested in Single Sign On, Application Deployment, Granular Access, and SSL VPN. It's called the Citrix Access Suite" (as if everyone didn't know this already)
 
 
GURU who loves ACCESS!!
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I would agree that their marketing sucks.  After all, look at the platform name changes that they keep going through, enough already!  What of their certification paths, or lack thereof?
 
Citrix is a great company, and yes, every company strays from the path eventually.  When they do, we have to be there to herd them back to path through commentary like this thread.
 
They can improve their product in many ways.  I can't recall the number of times I have mentioned to their SE about what needs to be improved on or added, hoping to see it in the next release. 
 
ORIGINAL: Guest

I would like to touch on Brian's point that Citrix is not focused.  This is perhaps true, but it is true for all companies as they get larger.  Microsoft and IBM to use a few of his examples have a huge spectrum of product and service offerings.  
 
Brian also said that the world is changing and Citrix was not.  I think it is true that Presentation Server is a mature product. That doesn’t mean it will go away anytime soon.  This is the reason why citrix is moving to other products.
 
Third, he said Citrix's marketing sucks.  I’m not in a position to judge it, but I think their Online division marketing is really good.
 
Fourth, he said that Citrix isn’t open with information.  There is probably some merit to that comment.  But it probably isn’t as bad as he says.  There are numerous events throughout the year where customers can directly talk to engineers and other employees.  There are support forums available, and assumedly employees are allowed to post to their own forums.  Citrix publishes many knowledge base articles and an advanced concepts guide with a lot of more technical detail.
 

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I agree, either put the bottle down or pick it up.
 
Citrix doesn't make it's software so that you or your readers think it's a "cool" technology.
 
It's quite clear you're bitter and twisted about something. Did you miss out on a job there?
 
Can't you find something valuable to do?
 
 
 
 
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Interesting
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Interesting article Brian. I enjoyed reading it a lot. I never questioned Citrix's Access Strategy until you pointed out that it's really just a marketing pitch. Now that I think about it, the company does not share its vision with the outside world. Like one person said, it's probably for competitive advantage.
 
On side note, I thought that the "pony" show that Mark T put on at the last summit was completely unncessary.
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I hear Citrix lost a large deal in the EMEA and a few people got fired because they were tactical and not strategic
 
I also hear that Ericom Software  http://www.ericom.co.uk/WCWindows.asp  won the deal and are about to make a big splash
with new version and other things coming soon. Do you know that they have a client with 50000 seats one with 100000+ seats
 
We are trailing Ericom and Citrix right now and, Ericom works well with Virtual infrastructure and large numbers, and has a price to
match.
 
Bring on more competition.
 
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Yes, a "1 billion dollar company" was a pretty stupid goal.  It's like the marketing people came out and said "Hey, we're going to advertise, we're going to try to make money" it's like, isnt' that your job?  Isn't that what you were supposed to be doing?  I don't see how this is now a goal to do your job and why it has to be completely publicly plastered everywhere.
 
Eventually the enginering department may come out with a goal to write software instead of bug fixing the existing one over and over.
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because there is none.
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Brian has a very valid point. I just attended a citrix function in detroit. And MAn was i kinda over whelmed. 1. Netscaler+ some mgmt software. My response was WHY. And the head SE for the REGION also spoke of possible no CAG soon.  Over the last 10 years, citrix has released some really cool products, to only CUT them after a year or 2. Videoframe, anyone...... Extranet....... i look at their current lineup, and really wonder, which one is gonna get the axe...

They need to either split their products. IE citrix and access suite (this week they are calling it), and netscaler+mgmt on a different side. Trying to Squeeze all those together is just stupid. I am not worried about longhorn tse services, because even with p4- versus longhorn, there is still valid reasons for a citrix solution. But forcing the customer to buy a CAG+adv access+password managler.. Come on- stay on target and improve what we have. I mean, my first thoughts about netscaler, were WHY even go there.... that is just more junk to sell, yet after 10 + years, we still cant get the printing to work as intended.....
I really hate it, when i hear about new products from a SE, giving a workshop, about something not even related. It is like they are getting a little over confident.. They need to open up some. They may not be the size of microsoft, but lately they are trying to act like the MS of the lat 90's
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Good write up, but I think they are coming around.
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