With Synergy starting in just over a week, Citrix is in a tough spot on the desktop front. Customers are annoyed with XenApp 7.5, VMware Horizon 6 is bringing serious competition in the RDSH and app publishing space, and their cloud and DaaS story is seen as being somewhat weak.
But what about the mobile side? Could this be a brighter spot for Citrix?
For quite a while now, Citrix has been doing well in the mobile space. They acquired ShareFile for mobile file syncing, built a mobile app management solution, built a well-liked email client, bought Zenprise for MDM, and put all of these together as XenMobile.
In the mean time, VMware has waffled back and forth. Last year they finally released their Android Mobile Virtualization Platform, but for the most part didn’t do much in the mobile space until they bought AirWatch this year. Finally, over the course of a few months the question of whether or not VMware cares about end user computing was answered definitively.
Getting back to the original issue, though—what advantages and disadvantages does Citrix have on the mobile front?
First off, there’s the obvious one: they’re a few years ahead of VMware when it comes to integrating mobility with everything else they do. Both companies have been talking for years about the grand vision of workspace aggregation—bringing together data, desktop apps, web apps, and (on mobile devices) native mobile apps. Citrix’s Worx Home app is getting closer to that vision than anything we’ve ever seen before.
VMware and AirWatch, on the other hand, are cautiously reminding us that integration will take time. I’m guessing that we’ll get an awesome converged mobile/desktop/data workspace aggregation story at VMworld in August, but still, it’ll take a while to get here.
What else is there? Citrix is making a big deal about the Worx App Store and all of the Worx partners, but AirWatch actually has plenty of partner apps, too.
One disadvantage is that standing up XenMobile can be a complicated process (part of this is because XenMobile requires using NetScaler, which Citrix cites as an advantage) while AirWatch is flip-the-switch SaaS. There is a cloud version of XenMobile available, but Citrix isn’t emphasizing it.
Another point in favor of VMware is that CIOs who made their careers by virtualizing servers and saving their companies millions of dollars love VMware. So when VMware comes along with some AirWatch EMM, they’ll get a warm reception.
With all this, what could Citrix say or do to set them apart from VMware, now that VMware has AirWatch?
- Emphasize the lead they have integrating desktops, data, mobile apps, and web apps, as well as the value of that integration.
- Continue with smaller tweaks to XenMobile and the Worx apps. Show us how slick and well put together it can be.
- Do a better job of explaining NetScaler’s role in XenMobile and the value it brings. Right now a lot of people think it’s a pain. They should instead make us go away thinking, “Oh hey, this is awesome!”
- Or maybe talk more about XenMobile in the cloud, if that’s a direction they want to go in. How quick and easy could it be for companies of a few hundred to a few thousand to get into cloud-based EMM? (“GoToEMM,” anyone?)
- Differentiate between the high and low end of the EMM market—AirWatch is seen as “owning” the market for low-cost MDM. Citrix could fight back by better positioning XenMobile MDM Edition for that market, and positioning XenMobile Enterprise Edition as a high-end product that benefits from integration and its use of NetScaler, as mentioned above.
Whatever happens, Citrix is going to be under the microscope at Synergy. What else would you like to hear them say or do with XenMobile? And what else can they do to set themselves apart from VMware?