I asked this question in the press conference after the morning keynotes.
Brian Madden: Hi, this is Brian Madden. Question from a technical standpoint regarding your relationship with Microsoft. We heard today you have twenty engineers onsite in Redmond , so my question is regarding recent issues. Take for example Service Pack 4 for Windows 2000 with Feature Release 3. It caused a lot of problems, a lot of headaches for a lot of customers. That has been straightened out and that's okay, but I guess my question is how was that issue not discovered before Microsoft released Service Pack 4, and what are you doing with your relationship with them to prevent that from happening in the future?
Bob Kruger, Citrix CTO: Okay well first off we actually have—I want to make sure this is clear—we have a lab in the vicinity of Microsoft. It's in Redmond , so we're all in the same place. We're roughly about ten minutes from one another and we do in fact have engineers with key cards that we can in fact meet with others on the Microsoft campus. And, as close as we are, sometimes we miss some things—you know that's sort of what it boils down to.
In terms of Service Pack 4, I wasn't aware of any really huge problems that came up or a great volume of them, but every once and a while we do miss something because it's hard to anticipate all the potential configurations that our customers have, so we try to do as good as we can.
One of the things that Microsoft does though, is they actually take our test suites and we put them into their labs, and this is something that we did since Windows 2000 Server. But to actually have some of the MetaFrame test suites for the presentation server and other products, they put those into (this particular case) the operating system environment and also the Terminal Services environment, and they do testing to make sure we're not broken. In fact, if they uncover any bug that breaks us or we uncover a bug that breaks us, they have to fix that prior to shipment. So they consider that what I'd call a showstopper to find the bug.
So that's a part of the relationship at the development level. It does go well beyond that, though, where we have really great dialogs with people well in advance of new technologies coming out so that we can anticipate things, and again try to do the best we can, and we've got to work with that as well as with our customers to make sure we do a good job.
After reading Kruger's response, Adam Baum sent me this follow-up email: My take on that is "busted." The response of, "I wasn't aware of any really huge problems that came up or great volume..." leave me a little concerned that this CTO does not talk to his tech suppport. The Citrix Support forums (on Citrix's website) are loaded with SP4-related issues. In fact, one of the forum users has created a website just to cover Citrix FR3/SP4 problems. If you get a chance at a followup, can you ask him how management stays abreast of such things. How do they "know" what is going on? Do they ever look at the forums and tech support call logs themselves?