For the past ten years, the nature of the Citrix and Microsoft relationship has been that Microsoft built a somewhat limited "base" product which Citrix extended with a pay-for product of their own. It was almost taken for granted that Microsoft was "in charge" of that relationship because if they wanted to kill Citrix, they could just build Citrix's advanced capabilities into their base product and Citrix would be out of business soon thereafter.
But what if that's not true? What if the opposite is true? Could Citrix really be the one in charge? Could it be Citrix who dictates to Microsoft what Microsoft can and cannot do?
Cartoon (c) Petar Jankov. Licensed from CartoonStock.com.
For example, most industry watchers generally agree that Microsoft would never acquire Citrix because for every license of Citrix XenApp that's sold, the customer also needs a matching TS CAL. So why would Microsoft buy them when Citrix is out there selling Microsoft's products for free? (That same argument could be made as a reason as to why Microsoft wouldn't want to kill Citrix either.)
What if instead of Microsoft deciding which features are put into the base Terminal Server product, it's actually Citrix who dictates this to Microsoft. "You will add this feature and that feature, but do not touch x or y. Leave that for us!"
I should note that since I'm in Redmond for the MVP Summit this week, I mentioned this theory to a few Microsoft employees at dinner, and they looked at me like I was crazy while talking about how great the partnership is now between the two companies. (Ahh, how a little common enemy called "VMware" can focus the mind...)
Who knows how likely such a scenario is, but it's certainly interesting.