In response to Microsoft's recent announcement that Bear Paw would not be part of R2, Citrix set a FAQ document to their partners clarifying their position and relationship with Microsoft. I've attached this document, along with my commentary on some of their answers.
From Citrix's Document:
We anticipate a number of questions surrounding the Microsoft announcement. We are interested in minimizing ongoing speculation about this development and hope the following questions and answers will help you to this end.
Question: How/When Did Citrix Hear About The Changes in Road-Map?
Answer: We were advised late last week (August 6th) that the new Terminal Server features (formerly known as “Bear Paw”) would not be shipping in the R2 release of Windows Server and would instead ship in a future version of Windows. We were informed very early which is appropriate based on the depth of our relationship.
Brian's Comments: I personally was informed of this information by Microsoft on August 11 and published an article on August 12. This is a mere 5 days after Citrix received this information. Only you can decide if 5 days counts as "very early."
Question: Does “future version” mean Longhorn?
Answer: Microsoft has not committed to any specific version but has simply confirmed that these features will not be included in R2.
Brian's Comments: I noticed this too. Microsoft used the terms "platform release" and "most likely Longhorn." This either means that (1) Bear Paw will most likely be in Longhorn, or (2) Longhorn will most likely be the next platform release. But maybe not? :)
Question: When are R2 and Longhorn expected to ship?
Answer: Microsoft is stating that R2 will ship in the second half of 2005. Microsoft is not committing to a ship date on Longhorn Server, though we anticipate this to be in the 2007 timeframe. Microsoft will provide more accurate dates as we get closer to the release dates.
Brian's Comments: As I outlined in this article, I don't agree with this. I think R2 won't see final release until 2006.
Question: Is this good for customers?
Answer: Both Microsoft and Citrix are primarily driven by responding to customer needs and solving customer problems. We think Microsoft’s decision will improve overall customer satisfaction through providing them with a “best-of-breed” solution that is a combination of Microsoft’s platform and our MetaFrame Access Suite and which leverages both of our organization’s unique strengths.
Brian's Comments: That first sentence is the biggest load of marketing hogwash I've ever heard. And I'm not sure how Microsoft NOT releasing a product will improve customer satisfaction? I would think that giving free seamless windows, application publishing, and a web portal would increase customer satisfaction.
Question: Does this change in Microsoft’s road-map alter Citrix’s plans in any way?
Answer: No - it’s business as usual. Both companies maintain independent product roadmaps based on each company’s customer requirements. The Citrix strategy is to add value to the Windows platform through our MetaFrame Access Suite. This “embrace and extend” mentality has always been a key tenet to our relationship with Microsoft, and our overall business strategy, and we plan to continue to have this attitude going forward. We enjoy an excellent level of engagement with the product and engineering groups at Microsoft, have frequent and open dialog with them and plan to drive towards an ever deeper relationship going forward.
Brian's Comments: I never expected to hear the term "embrace and extend" once Kruger left Citrix.
Question: Why Does Citrix Care About “Bear Paw”?
Answer: The functional road-map of “Bear Paw” included feature sets that could have caused market and customer confusion. We have always enjoyed a technology relationship with Microsoft that is symbiotic and we wish to continue to work with them in this vein. We could not see any additional customer value-add over and above what we are already providing and this concerned us.
Brian's Comments: "This concerned us." Of course it did. The additional customer value that Citrix doesn't see is the fact that Bear Paw would be free. Why does Citrix care about Bear Paw? Because Bear Paw would give away core Citrix-only functionality in the base Terminal Server product. In doing so, it would probably obliterate Citrix in the small and medium business space. This answer from Citrix is pure comedy.. Nothing but marketing doublespeak.
Question: What is Citrix’s reaction to this news?
Answer: We are very pleased. We already offer most of the functionality that was planned in “Bear Paw” and a great deal more through our complete MetaFrame Access Suite. We were concerned that the “Bear Paw” announcement would create customer confusion – clearly something we do not want to see happen. Secondly, this could allow Microsoft to focus additional development efforts on future versions of Windows – improving and extending their platform which in turn will allow us to add additional value through our own products and technologies. We are optimistic that the next version of Windows will be truly great and plan to play a significant role in adding value to their new platform.
Brian's Comments: "We are very pleased" is the understatement of the century! A friend of mine who works at the Citrix headquarters in Ft. Lauderdale told me they were high-fiving each other in the hallway. The statements in Citrix's answer are true. Customers would be confused about why they are spending $350 per user on Citrix when Bear Paw would do what they want for free. The last two sentences are my favorite in this whole document. Citrix is basically saying that by stopping the development of Bear Paw, Microsoft can free up resources that can help make Windows better, and then everybody wins! The last sentence was thrown on for good measure in case their brown-nosing wasn't clear enough already.
Question: How is the Microsoft/Citrix partnership going?
Answer: Very well indeed. We are one of Microsoft’s most strategic partners, driving over $250-million in revenues to Microsoft annually. We are engaged at many levels – product, marketing and sales and in addition have strong and very visible executive support from across the company. The Citrix MetaFrame Access Suite adds quantifiable value to Windows Server and results in greatly improved customer satisfaction. We feel confident about our future working
together and are looking forward to continuing to develop our relationship.
Brian's Comments: This is probably the most straight answer in this whole paper, although what did you expect them to say?
Question: Can we tell our partners and customers about this?
Answer: Yes – but before doing so, please check in with and inform your local Microsoft office. We’ve been asked by the Terminal Services group at Microsoft to help get the word out and we’d like you to do this – it’s in everyone’s best interest and it’s in the spirit of a great partnership. Thanks.
Brian's Comments: I wonder if the people in the local Microsoft offices actually care about any of this stuff. It's probably only interesting to geeks like us. --Brian