Back in May Citrix announced that they would be releasing a Windows version of their Desktop Player software that, as of now, is only available for Mac. This would be big news to anyone interested in running local corporate desktops on unmanaged endpoints or ones that they simply cannot wipe to install XenClient. So far, though, we’ve just been waiting.
The wait started back in May of 2013 when Citrix announced the Citrix Desktop Player for Mac, a type-2 client hypervisor built upon Oracle VirtualBox. It made sense for Citrix to go this route because they had zero coverage of the Mac space with XenClient (despite a few hope-inducing demos over the years). Rather than building their own product from scratch, they decided to OEM Oracle VirtualBox due in part to it’s native support for VHD files.
Though a type-2 hypervisor was the only way Citrix was going to have any way of managing corporate desktops on Macs, the fact that the host OS doesn’t need to be wiped is a nice added benefit. So nice, in fact, that people immediately began asking for a Windows version of Desktop Player. Sure, there are other options (MokaFive and VMware Fusion Pro/Player Pro, for example), but those require straying from a Citrix-only solution.
In May of 2014 at Synergy Citrix announced that they were, in fact, working on a Desktop Player for Windows, and that a Tech Preview would be available soon. After five months, though, the Desktop Player website says that it’s still “Coming Soon:”
So what gives? Is Citrix not going to use VirtualBox for the Windows version of DesktopPlayer? You would think that if they did the work to create a Mac version on vBox that it wouldn’t be that hard to create a Windows version. Of course, every time I’ve made that sort of generalization the project has taken ten times longer than I thought it would (remember when I would guess how long it would take to process the BriForum videos?)
Still, I’d love to see something sooner than later surrounding Desktop Player, or at least to know if Citrix is still pursuing it. Even the @DesktopPlayer twitter account is pretty quiet about the Windows version, without so much as a mention of it since May. Could it be that there really isn’t that large of a demand, so it’s been put on the back burner? Maybe it’s one of the things being de-prioritized to make way for new directions within the company.