Citrix Responds to Microsoft's Bear Paw Delay Announcement

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.

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

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This message was originally posted by an anonymous visitor on August 24, 2004
The prove of a 'very well' relationship would be a deal between Citrix and Microsoft that involves an extended contract as a result of postponing Bear Paw. ;-)
This message was originally posted by Brian Madden on August 24, 2004
You know, I didn't think of that.. But that's a realy good point. The delay of Bear Paw is a great gift to Citrix, and only a strong relationship with Microsoft could prompt that. Great insight!
This message was originally posted by an anonymous visitor on August 24, 2004
My theory: Citrix told Microsoft that they'd release MetaFrame for Linux if Micorosoft released Bear Paw.
This message was originally posted by Jess Ponikvar on August 24, 2004
That could very well be... I'm sure Citrix has something like that in their back pocket in case it comes down to that... at least I hope so.
This message was originally posted by Gabe Knuth on August 24, 2004
Last year I talked to a Citrix SE about the possibility of a MF for Linux, and he said there was no trace of it on the roadmap. This was Q4 last year, so maybe something has changed, but I doubt it would be all that thoroughly baked.
This message was originally posted by Gabe Knuth on August 24, 2004
Microsoft doesn't need to release Bear Paw. They already get a license fee for everyone that uses TS, Citrix, Canaveral, Jetro, ... you name it (sparing GraphOn, I guess). Microsoft holds all the cards here, and could very easily steal well over half of Citrix's market share in a very short period of time. Citrix isn't threatening a thing to them. If anything, Citrix is begging them to hold off on the release, and offering up *something* in return.
This message was originally posted by Mark Verhagen on August 25, 2004
With R2 still including this critical piece for the secure remote access component in Windows 2003 Server, it may become a straw that breaks some Small/Medium deals for Citrix. Opinions?
This message was originally posted by an anonymous visitor on August 25, 2004
Microsoft have definitely in my opinion been talking with Citrix and Tarantella regarding the positioning of their products; Enterprise Level and SME respectively - I think there is no doubt about MS making deals with these companies so that they do not compete against each other and confuse the end users. But if MS wanted to they could wipe out the Citrix & TSDE market by releasing a seamless, app publishing, load balanced, custom web portal, integrated single user sign-on product.
This message was originally posted by JR on August 25, 2004
My company has initiated a shift from MS to Linux where possible, which prompted me to ask Citrix the same question. The response I got back from our sales rep - basically that Microsoft was Citrix's bread and butter. They probably wouldn't do anything along those lines unless there was overwhelming customer commitment to move to that platform. Makes sense, can't say as I blame them. While our company wants to move to Linux (mainly from being fed up with MS licensing gouging) the majority of our key applications are still windows-based. Now...if they could come up with MetaFrame for Linux that could host Windows apps with the reliability of a Windows TS, that didn't require Microsoft networking (sic- licenses) now that would be a killer.
This message was originally posted by Kimmo Jernstrom on August 25, 2004
As I commented on my site -
I think this is sad news indeed. I can surely understand the market logic behind the decision, but nevertheless, this is just another example the of monopolistic and oligarchic business practice (agreed upon those that benefit of this) that harm the consumer.
This message was originally posted by SBC Linux GEEK on August 25, 2004
Hey guys, as stated above and echoed from our Citrix sales guy, no Linux in Citrix's future (BUMMER!). The positive news is that they do support an early x86 version of Solaris (Solaris 8). Lets hope that Citrix supports the x86 version of Solaris 10 which is in every way an as good as Linux if not better. With project Janus (which Sun will release Q4) will allow any Linux app to install and run on Solaris 10 (SPARC or x86). Check out Solaris 10, it ROCKS! It's free if you buy the hardware from Sun (check out thier x86 prices) or pay $70.00 per box for the OS and bring you own hardware (Solaris 10 has installed on everything I've tried in our lab). And yes the install is now better than any Linux distro I've seen, like redhat & SuSe. Let's hope that Citrix ports to Solaris 10!
This message was originally posted by jeutix on August 25, 2004
... hope you have such stories on Pubforum, too :-)
This message was originally posted by Alain Deroy on August 31, 2004
I always believe it to be sad when customers are withheld technology. It has in the past always been the case that improvements made to the Windows platform have seen many enhancements to MetaFrame. It was only when MS made terminal services an integral part of Windows (thus making it much more stable) that Citrix stepped up a gear to bring us a better MetaFrame. Of course it is in everyone who runs MF on Windows' interest that the partnership remains in good shape. Seeing improvements in terminal services would, no doubt, see an even more enhanced MetaFrame. Let's hope they sort this out.
This message was originally posted by DW on September 2, 2004
Citrix is committed to "enhancing" Terminal Services and improving customer satisfaction. They are continually striving to improve their product as they aggressively move towards being a Billion dollar company.
This message was originally posted by Former Citrix Partner on September 17, 2004
Don't kid yourself - Citrix only does what will make them a billion dollar company and it has nothing to do with customer satisfaction. They will go after the big dollar customers and let the small-mid market drown in their wake. This company has no concern for anything other than money. Just take a look at their support agreements. Unless you want to pay $25,000 per year, you can't get 24x7 tech support - what does that tell you. Leave Citrix now unless you've got deep pockets.