Why Douglas Brown and John C. Dvorak are 100% wrong about Microsoft buying Citrix

Last week Douglas Brown shook things up with this article claiming Microsoft was days away from acquiring Citrix. Of course this rumor has been ongoing for 10+ years, and it resurfaced in a big way this past January, but it's been pretty quiet since then.

Last week Douglas Brown shook things up with this article claiming Microsoft was days away from acquiring Citrix. Of course this rumor has been ongoing for 10+ years, and it resurfaced in a big way this past January, but it's been pretty quiet since then.

Until last week.

In his article, Doug wrote that his "inbox lit up with rumors," and that he even heard it on this episode of John C. Dvorak's Tech 5 podcast. This seemed really strange to be, because I heard nothing about this. None of the market indicators were there (increased volume, etc.). Not a single email landed in my box. Not a single call. Nothing.

As I was scratching my head about this, I got a call from ComputerWorld's Eric Lai, asking for my reaction and comment on the news.

"Where did you here that?" I asked.

"People are talking about it."

"Which exact people?"

"Douglas Brown has an article about it, and he linked to a podcast by Dvorak."

I told Eric that I thought it was hogwash--that yeah, this rumor is somewhat always there, and that this rumor really heated up earlier this year. But now? With all due respect to Doug and John Dvorak, I just wasn't hearing it. (Here's Eric's article that was ultimately published. He does a good job of presenting both sides to the story.)

So I did some digging. For those of you who are not familiar with Dvorak's Tech 5 podcast, it's basically a five-minute daily podcast about the biggest general tech news of the day. Dvorak makes heavy use of Google News for the source content for his show. (He freely and often admits this.) I listened to the episode in question. His complete mention of this rumor was the following two sentences: "Microsoft's rumored to be in the process of buying Citrix. Apparently they have to buy something--they're just in a buying mood."

So while Dvorak did in fact report this rumor, details were non-existent. Okay, time to go to Dvorak's source: Google News. I hit that site and typed in [Microsoft buying Citrix]. Not counting Doug's recent article and some others (like Eric's) that were specifically written in response to Doug's, there was actually a series of new articles (dated Sept. 10 and 11) about Microsoft buying Citrix! (The words "Microsoft" and "rumor" were in the articles, so a Google news search alert would have been triggered.)

"I'll be damned!" I thought, "maybe Dvorak had a point?"

The Google News listing was for an article titled "Will Microsoft Buy Citrix?", from SYS-CON media. The date was September 10 or 11, 2008, depending on which link you hit. (This is a problem with SYS-CON. They publish the same article on multiple sites. So a single new article looks like a lot of separate sites writing about a topic.)

When I read the subtitle, I realized something wasn't right. "According to Microsoft insiders, Forbes speculates that Microsoft might eventually buy Citrix, a market cap of $6.4 billion." Wait, what?!? A $6.4B market cap? Ummm.. No. Citrix's market cap is currently $5.3B. But it was $6.4B last January, when the rumors last flared up. And what's this about Forbes reporting on this? Isn't that also who was responsible for the January rumor?

I read more of the SYS-CON article:

Microsoft and Citrix Systems announced an expanded alliance to deliver a comprehensive set of virtualization solutions to address the desktop and server virtualization needs of customers. The two companies will work together to deliver and market joint virtualization solutions with Windows Server 2008 to help customers achieve a flexible and dynamic client computing infrastructure.

Microsoft hasn’t disclosed what it paid for the venture-backed start-up and its compression technology though one analyst took a shot and figured it was less than $100 million. Calista is backed by Greylock Partners and Lightspeed Venture Partners and quotes IDC predicting desktops using virtualized client computing will hit around 40 million seats by 2011.

Wait a minute... the text of these paragraphs also describe Microsoft's January virtualization announcement, just like I wrote back then. Reading further:

Meanwhile, Microsoft has also tightened the screws on its axis with its old friend Citrix, which is now supposed to develop a tool that blithely transfers VMs between the XenSource’s XenServer and Windows Server 2008 with Hyper-V for the sake of interoperability.

A test version of the tool is due next quarter and the final version when Hyper-V ships.

Hah! "Tool due next quarter" and "when Hyper-V ships." Umm, that shipped already!

It should be quite obvious to anyone reading this that SYS-CON had (and continues to have) some kind of glitch that's causing their old January 2008 article to show a publication date of September 11, 2008 instead. (And if you still don't believe it, check out my article from January 2008. In the first line, I linked back the the exact same URL of the SYS-CON article that magically now has the Sept 11 date! (And in that same first line of that same article, I also linked to this article on Doug's website which is word-for-word the exact article on SYS-CON!) So either SYS-CON ripped off Doug, or Doug ripped off SYS-CON. It's hard to tell because neither one of them lists an author.

So what we had was an interesting chain of events that lead to several people writing articles and saying things that are simply not true:

  • SYS-CON screwed up first by allowing this old article to show up with a current date.
  • Google Newsbot indexed that article and thought it was new. (Not their fault, but a key piece of this chain. Although maybe in the future they could modify their algorithm to make sure the news article is not a word-for-word duplicate of something that's already in their system?)
  • John Dvorak found this article via Google News (not his fault), but then didn't realize after reading it that it was old. (Definitely his fault, and happens when he reports on stuff that he doesn't really know about.)
  • Doug wrote his rumor based on Dvorak's podcast. And it's very possible that the people who "lit up" his inbox were just other people that heard Dvorak's podcast too.
  • Then people like Eric reported on what Doug and John wrote.
  • And then there's Jason Perlow, who just "happened" to write an article on September 13 (two days later) saying that Microsoft should buy Citrix, without mentioning Doug or Dvorak's piece at all! What did he think, that if it did happen he could claim some sort of crystal ball future predicting brilliance? Not cool dude.

The bottom line is that all of this is just a rehash of the January 2008 rumor.

The timing of this is pretty interesting considering the whole UAL / Google News thing from last week. The lesson here is that you can't trust Google News to be your primary source for anything, and if an article seems big and sensational, you need to dig into the facts to see if it's legit or not.

Join the conversation

30 comments

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

Microsoft buying Citrix is complete nonsense. There is so much technology overlap that Microsoft board would never realize any benefits for their stockholders. Furthermore, Citrix's current revenue base is 70% Presentation Server, which is old and legacy technology. Microsoft could easily replicate what that platform offers by investing some development in TS, not by buying a whole company. Netscaler and Wanscaler are not Microsoft core business and it would not make sense for them to acquire these assets. Microsoft's SC VMM cancels the need for Citrix XEN hypervisor management platform. Everything else Citrix offers is small fries.

Microsoft would probably need to pay a hefty premium on Citrix, based on theur historic 22-25% yearly revenue growth, probably around $8 billion. $8 billion for a legacy platform that is being replaced by newer technologies seems very steep. 

Cancel

Good work, Brian. It shows clearly how important it is to do some investigation when spectacular news seem to come out of the blue. I was also surprised about the "Microsoft buys Citrix" statement on Doug's website because it contradicts what I tend to teach people in my (I mean, in "our") advanced training classes. Thanks for taking the time and checking out the background of Doug's article.


Remember our past discussions we had about genuine and up-to-date content? Looks like the Web 2.0 thing, where smart "authors" use buzz word alert mechanisms and rather reference some random web pages instead of creating "real" content, gets out of control sometimes...


Now my only hope is that Microsoft does NOT acquire Citrix during the next days and weeks. Otherwise both you and I may look a bit stupid ;-) But chances are small that this will happen. Like you, I don't see any real evidence for such an acquisition at this moment.


Benny

Cancel
I'm not surprised... First, because Microsoft gains more by having Citrix being its number one partner, they would buy Citrix only to prevent an HP, Cisco, IBM, "you name it" takeover....  

Second, I'm not surprised Doug Brown yet again used his photocopy machines... :-)
Cancel

Brian,

This is Doug.  Thanks for letting me know you posted
this as I need to correct you as you are the one 100% wrong vs. me.  
Now, I'm not saying Microsoft is going to buy Citrix is true but I want
to stick up for myself as your above article portrays my article
incorrectly and like a lot of what you do it is an attack on a person
vs. reporting the facts. 

1)    I was NOT reporting on a
rumor, as the article clearly states, I wrote on June 5… That is JUNE 5
Brian….  On June 5th I wrote that I felt in my bones that Microsoft
would be forced to buy Citrix and they would do it right before
VMworld.  This information was based on numerous sources and some of it
came from articles from sites like ComputerWorld.   The article I
posted on Thursday was 1) a follow-up article and 2) my comments on why
Microsoft might be forced to buy Citrix.  It was NOT based on rumors
other than the ones released in late May and early June. 

2)   
John C -  Who, by the way, has an AWESOME podcast that I highly
recommend listening to for anyone reading this.  Dvorak is AWESOME but
I digress.   As you said in your article, I did NOT use John’s podcast
as the base for my article.  That is just NOT TRUE.  John’s podcast was
just another item in the list.. But, I did receive a few emails and
even a few IM conversations with people who came to me and said
“something” was happening.  So, I felt it was time for me to write
about what I had stated a few months earlier.   I did not write a rumor
but I reported 1) that it was time to see if I was right or wrong and
2) that others were seeing this, and it started before any article was
online about the subject this week.  Sorry Brian but you are wrong not
me.  Again, my article is based on facts and if those facts turn in a
Microsoft buy of Citrix….

3)    If you read my article for
what it is worth vs. trying to find a way to rip me for what I wrote
you will see that I wrote on reasons why I think something like this
will happen.  NOT that is was going to happen.  I wrote on the signs
that I’m seeing.  I REPORTED on the signs that I am seeing…  Those
“signs” are not rumors, those are facts and none of it did I pick up on
Google News.    So sorry again….

4) I love this one… “So
either SYS-CON ripped off Doug, or Doug ripped off SYS-CON.”    Hey
Brian… I know you know this as you have tried to duplicate it on your
site but some of dabcc.com is an aggregate where we pick up on news and
link the reader back to the site of origin.   Although unlike your
aggregator where you take the ENTIRE article I take only the first very
small bit of the article and again send the reader to the site to read
the entire article at its source.   This is one part of dabcc.com. 
Again you know this so next time you want to rip on me think before you
do as you are 100% wrong yet again…


OK, I can go on and on
about how you went completely out of your way to rip on me for my
report or even follow-up but I need to catch a plane for VMworld.  So
to answer your question to me in your email in which you informed me
that you wrote this attack, yes, I will be at VMworld but now I sure
hope I don’t see you as you just pissed me off so no wonder people
think I don’t like you.  Maybe this is the reason.   Have a nice day
and go pick on someone else, as I’m sick of this stuff.   I stopped
reading your site for good when you pulled that VDI testing stunt that
you never did as you found it was too hard to do so you just dropped it
as it did not come out the way you were being paid to have it come
out…   ;)  BUt  that is something you tell people I do, which is also
100% wrong.  Go and read the comments on my article and you will see
one, that I love, saying I wrote my article about two of my partners…
No matter if it was good or bad…  Be honest Brian, I am…

Doug Brown

Cancel
Come on guys I am sure that there is plenty of room in the playground for both of you!  However should you wish to respond I like many others (no doubt) would love to see where this goes!
Cancel

Symantec's got a good relationship with Citrix, they OEMed XenServer to integrate it with Storage Foundation for their VxVI product that's shipping in Q4, there's virtually no overlap, the Provisioning Server stuff would fit with their Altiris portfolio, they got out of the SSL VPN business awhile back and could buy one of the best with their Access Gateways/NetScalers, they don't really have a play in the network accelleration space, and could use WanScalers, and it would give them the Xen Hypervisor outright.

Symantec's could swallow Citrix, its only about a third of their market cap (16 vs 5), but the i think the main problem would be figuring out who and what product lines stays and what goes.

Cancel

Symantec's got a good relationship with Citrix, they OEMed XenServer to integrate it with Storage Foundation for their VxVI product that's shipping in Q4, there's virtually no overlap, the Provisioning Server stuff would fit with their Altiris portfolio, they got out of the SSL VPN business awhile back and could buy one of the best with their Access Gateways/NetScalers, they don't really have a play in the network accelleration space, and could use WanScalers, and it would give them the Xen Hypervisor outright.

Symantec's could swallow Citrix, its only about a third of their market cap (16 vs 5), but the i think the main problem would be figuring out who and what product lines stays and what goes.

Cancel

one more thing, now that you have me all fired up and you want to state facts.   The last artilces on this subject was NOT January as you stated mutiple times above but in April.  That four months later... ;) 

http://www.crn.com/software/207100409?cid=CRNFeed   

This is the article that started another round of speculation and what made me start say I think Microsoft might need to buy CItrix to block others from it.  I said that on June 5th and even before that to people I would talk with.   So, again Brian I'm so sorry but you are off by four months.   AND it has nothing to do with Google News... Maybe you just did not read what I wrote which referenced my June 5 article and gave the above link inside it.  All you needed to do is read that vs. using Google yourself and you would have said April and June (for Doug) vs. January.  Again, you are wrong.. 

 

 

Cancel
Doug is so good defending himself. It must be practice.
Cancel

Brian probably should have consulted Doug first

Cancel

Doug, 


How can you now say "I'm not saying Microsoft is going to buy Citrix is true" when you said oin the article Microsoft is buying Citrix and the announcemnt will come Friday or Monday?


Dabbc lost a lost of respect by printing this "feel it in my bones" nonsense.

Cancel

Benny I totally agree.  The thing i like about Brian's site is the original content...as well as the humour.  So many sites out there seem to have google news alerts setup and then just repost the links on their page just to keep people coming back so as to keep the numbers up for advertisers their sites. 

Cancel
Highly Agreed! 
Cancel

Hi Everyone,

I'm not going to get into the point-by-point specifics, but I would like to make a few clarifications on some specific points:

First, on the statement that our news aggregator republishes the "entire article." This is true for some source blogs, and in other source blogs we just republish the feeds. (And in still other cases, the original blog author creates a custom feed for us.) The important fact is that we get permission from every single site whose content we syndicate. And it's the decision of each site owner as to whether we republish just a few paragraphs or the entire article. You'll notice that the bigger companies--Citrix, Microsoft, etc., typically prefer us to syndicate the entire article since they want to get their message out more than they care about specific page views. And most of the smaller sites ask us to just post some portion (again, up to them), since they want the links. We also make it very clear that the syndicated content is from an external source.

Second, regarding the comment about our "VDI testing stunt that
you never did as you found it was too hard to do so you just dropped it
as it did not come out the way you were being paid to have it come
out." I assume this is about the Qumranet VDI testing that Gabe and I did last July. The testing is complete. We have our results. They are basically ready to publish, but we need to get final approval from Qumranet. (As is the case when any analyst is commissioned to write a paper for a vendor.) But of course Qumranet is busy with other things at the moment, and I think our paper just isn't a priority. I'm sure the results will be published. I think the paper is great and the results are interesting, and I can't wait for everyone to be able to read it. As I've written in the past, we strive for ultimately transparency with regards to what we do with vendors. If any reader feels that we'd comprimise our integrity based on one small consulting project with one random vendor, well, there's nothing I can say that would change that person's mind, so it's not even worth doing.

Finally, regarding the perception that this is a personal attack on Doug, I didn't see it that way. (Now I know what some of you are thinking--"Hah! The fact that he didn't see this as an attack just shows what a jackass Brian is!") But if you go back and read my actual article, there's nothing against Doug in there apart from me saying that I think he's wrong. But saying someone is wrong does not equate to a personal attack. Heck, people say I'm wrong all the time. It's only personal if you make it personal.

Looking back at the timeline of events, I squarely place the blame (if that's the right word here) with Dvorak. He's the guy who first reported this, and he should have checked his facts better.

Cancel
This is all silly. Fine if you guys disagree that's why we like your bloggs, but we're all on the same side here, so please let's keep it this way that way as this is a valuable resource for the industry.
Cancel

Your behaving like little children now. Please get up pick your losses and move on. I like both Brian and Doug and I crosspost on both sides when I please and when I have time.


Next time take a moment to contact a person before publishing something so you don't get bad blood.

Cancel
it obviously works  when you throw mud at people others are actually paying attention to, like Doug !
Cancel

"If any reader feels that we'd comprimise our integrity based on one small consulting project with one random vendor, well, there's nothing I can say that would change that person's mind, so it's not even worth doing."


Come on....  that's not cool especially since you have been thought as independent.... we got one eye open now unfortunately... that's fine if you do this but you really should update your site disclosure statement which you often tout...


What we won't do with vendors:


We will not accept money to do a product review.
We will not accept money to write about a vendor.
We will not give a vendor any special treatment just because they bought an ad or something.
We do not have any programs where vendors can pay us to be in their club.

Cancel

Ah good catch.. I mean that the explanation is not worth doing.. like it's not worth trying to defend ourselves. I don't mean the project is not worth doing.

And when it comes to those projects, here's a specific list of what we will and will not do with vendors:

https://www.brianmadden.com/blog/BrianMadden/Brian-Maddens-vendor-relationship-disclosures

Cancel

Brian:

Whether you beleive it or not, I never actually read Dvorak's peice or any of the rumormongering you are referring to in this article, and wasn't even aware of them until I read this peice. My article was based upon my thoughts regarding Red Hat's acquisition of Qumranet from the previous week, which I wrote about the week before.

Sometimes journalists come to the same independent conclusions without reading each other's work.

Cancel

How do you know DVorak does not have a personal source for this story? Dvorak is very well connected in the Valley. Just because some of his info comes fom news stories that does not mean every tidbit is from Google News.


Doug brought in a lot of new info and made a compelling case that either Citrix is being acquired or that they have missed their quarter.


I am not sure how you can play innocent on this. If your inntention wasnt to call out Doug you could have gone about this differently.

Cancel
Stopppppp the posts! This won't get resolved here. Brian & Doug, you both bring great value to the SBC community. Find a bar in Vegas, have a couple of beers talk it out.
Cancel

WOW, a true comedy is unfolding before our eyes. I can't believe these two dudes are duking it out in front of everyone else like high school girls. I want to laugh at them.

They do not even come close to Virtualization.com. I read virtualization.com every day. It is journalism.

Cancel
I meant virtualization.info!!!
Cancel
Virtualization.info covers a very different range of topics than DABCC or BrianMadden.com.  There's some overlap between them, but by and large it's comparing apples to oranges.
Cancel
Yeah but the quality and objectivity of virtualization.info is by and large superior to these two sites
Cancel

I normally come here for industry trends and news


 I guess I can stop going to People.com and come here for some drama.


 


p.s. Did I just become what I despise by posting this?

Cancel
Ok, turning off posts now :)  These comments aren't really helping anyone.
Cancel

Why would they care if anyone buys Citrix??? The TS CAL revenues will continue to flow regardless. What the hell does Citrix have that would threaten Microsoft if it were to fall in anyone's hands, including HP, Cisco, and IBM?


I'll bet anyone it's Cisco or IBM (in this order).

Cancel

Beautiful blog with great informational content. Mostly certifications related topics are really very good. <a  href="www.animated-wallpapers.org/animatedchristmaswallpaper.html">Animated Christmas Wallpapers</a>, <a  href="www.animated-wallpapers.org/topanimatedwallpaperscompanies.html">Top Animated Wallpapers Companies</a> and <a  href="www.animated-wallpapers.org/animatedmobilewallpapers.html">Animated Mobile Wallpapers</a>. Thanks for this great sharing.


Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

SearchVirtualDesktop

SearchEnterpriseDesktop

SearchServerVirtualization

SearchVMware

Close