With all the Elliott stuff that’s been going on at Citrix over the last 7 months, they’ve been pretty quiet about XenMobile. Nobody has suggested that they get rid of it (which would of course be a mistake because EMM is a core part of EUC) but still, people have barely been talking about it.
However, XenMobile 10.3 just came out last week, and it includes important new functionality: it now supports the MDM APIs in Mac OS X and Windows 10.
This announcement makes two things clear: XenMobile is important to Citrix, and supporting laptops is important to XenMobile. Citrix is not in the position of doing something just because they can. If they’re supporting MDM for laptops, then they must have customers that are asking for it, or at least they see it as an important part of EMM in the near future.
There’s a long, interesting conversation to be had about when you would want to use MDM for laptops versus when you would want to stick with SCCM (for example one key point is that MDM can manage Windows Store apps, but has very limited control over traditional Windows apps), but I’ll leave that discussion for another time.
For now, you can see how MDM for laptops fits in perfectly with Citrix’s vision for end user computing—customers can use XenMobile for all of their basic device management needs, and then deliver traditional Windows apps as needed with XenApp or XenDesktop.
Of course VMware has also talked about this concept, and their version includes local traditional Windows apps delivered via AppVolumes. This makes me wonder if Citrix will go after any of the other exotic Windows app management startups out there, but given their closer relationship with Microsoft and the fact that they’re probably not in an acquiring mood right now, this seems unlikely. Perhaps the Universal Windows Platform Bridge for Classic Windows apps (a.k.a. Project Centennial) could be Citrix’s path to local traditional apps on top of MDM-managed Windows.
With EMM vendors rushing to support Windows 10 MDM APIs, some people have been skeptical about how much they can be trusted to know what they’re doing with Windows. But Citrix has the advantage that they obviously know their way around Windows better than pure-play mobility vendors.
Citrix is also working on WorxChat, an MDX (mobile app management) enabled client for Skype for Business/Lync. This is important because Microsoft won’t let other EMM vendors manage or wrap their apps, so WorxChat is a way around that. (Remember back at Synergy 2015 Citrix demonstrated using their app wrapping tool to modify the Lync for iPad app. Apple’s licensing terms definitely don’t allow this now, hence the WorxChat app.)
In a blog post today, Citrix's Manoj Raisinghani also talked about the preview of something called WorxForms, which sounds like some type of rapid mobile app development tool. According to the blog post, WorxForms "allows line of business owners to rethink apps, i.e., easily create mobile business apps without writing a line of code."
First, this is clearly an important release for XenMobile. It's the biggest one since Elliott happened, and it goes in new directions with the Windows 10 and Mac OS management.
Second, I’m really curious where MDM for Windows 10 will go. For all the excitement over it, I encounter equal amounts of skepticism. Time will tell where this fits in.
Finally, what's most important is Citrix’s continuing effort to win back customer confidence. Gabe wrote that things were looking better at the December CTP meeting. Citrix Summit is kicking off this week, and we’re only 4 1/2 short months away from Synergy, when we’ll all get our most important look.