Citrix Wins (Again)

Congratulations to Citrix for, once again, being awarded the Microsoft Global ISV Partner of the Year award! For those of you keeping score, that’s four times in the last eight years that the award has gone to Citrix:

  • 2003 – Citrix wins Global ISV Partner of the Year.
  • 2005 – Citrix wins Global ISV Partner of the Year.
  • 2006 – Citrix is awarded a Microsoft Information Worker Solutions Specialization award.
  • 2008 – Citrix wins Global ISV Partner of the Year.
  • 2009 – Citrix is a finalist for the Global ISV Partner of the Year.
  • 2010 – Citrix wins Global ISV Partner of the Year.

This is an outstanding record of achievement, and all our friends at Citrix deserve hearty congratulations for it – but it’s important for another reason, too. It should send a clear message to Citrix customers and prospective customers that the Citrix/Microsoft relationship is as strong as it’s ever been. In fact, you could build a case that it’s stronger, because there are more touch points in that partnership than ever before. In addition to the value XenApp brings to Remote Desktop Services, you now have:

  • Citrix Essentials for Hyper-V, which brings significant enhancements such as Site Recovery Manager to Hyper-V.
  • Branch Repeater with Windows Server – the WANscaler WAN optimization technology running on a Windows Server-based appliance, thereby giving you a single branch office appliance that can function as a local Domain Controller, a provider of important services such as DNS and DHCP, local file and print services, and provide WAN acceleration and optimization.
  • Citrix XenDesktop, which has been endorsed by Microsoft as their preferred solution for VDI.

Those of you who were around the industry in the mid-90s may recall that, during the transition from NT v3.51 to NT v4.0, there were serious doubts as to whether Citrix would even survive. But against all odds, and thanks to some intensive negotiations, Citrix and Microsoft signed the deal that led to the introduction by Microsoft of NT4, Terminal Server Edition, and Citrix MetaFrame, which added value to NT4, TSE – and set the pattern for the relationship that has continued to this day.

Nevertheless, in the late 90s, even some of the folks at Microsoft didn’t know quite what to think about Citrix. Shortly after the release of NT4, TSE, a Microsoft employee who will remain nameless (partly because I don’t remember his name, but I wouldn’t reveal it even if I did) commented to me that he didn’t understand why anyone would spend money on Citrix, because once Windows 2000 was released, no one would need it anymore. I’m happy to say that you’re unlikely to find that attitude at Microsoft today – and part of the reason is that all of those Global ISV Partner of the Year awards also sent a clear message throughout Microsoft that this was an important, strategic partnership. A large part of the credit also goes to the outstanding liaison team Citrix has placed in Redmond. And I speak from experience: since we’re also here in Microsoft’s back yard, I’ve had the privilege to get to know some of the folks on that team. They’re great people, and the state of the Citrix/Microsoft partnership today is also a reflection of the hard work they’ve put in.

The last decade has been nothing if not interesting for us Citrix partners. I’ve lost count of the number of times the rumor has resurfaced that Microsoft (or someone else) was going to buy Citrix. (I think the most recent rumor had Oracle as the buyer.) And, invariably, every time Microsoft releases another version of Windows Server, there are still those who predict that, with this version, people won’t need Citrix anymore. Yet Citrix continues to find ways to add value, grow their customer base, and continue to grow their business – and that’s also a remarkable achievement.

So here’s a big shout-out to Mark Templeton and his entire team. I’m not going to try to list names, because there are way too many to list, and I know I’d leave out someone important. Besides, you know who you are. It’s been one heck of a ride (and it’s not over yet). Thanks for letting us share it with you!

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