Microsoft, Citrix Seal Terminal Server Deal

Software giant Microsoft announced an extension of itstechnology and cross-licensing deal with accessinfrastructure solutions specialist Citrix, in a showof support for both the smaller software company andWindows Terminal Server.

The five-year agreement, which was expected in the industrygiven the companies’ past work on the Citrix MetaFrameaccess software suite on top of Windows TerminalServer, also ensures that Citrix solutions will playan access role in Microsoft’s next-generation Longhornserver.

“What it says is Cirtix and Microsoft customers aregoing to continue to have access to best-of-breedtechnology and they’re guaranteed a high degree ofinteroperability,” Yankee Group senior analyst LauraDiDio told TechNewsWorld. “You’re not requiringcustomers to make a choice [between Citrix andMicrosoft solutions].”

Bigger, Better Platform

The five-year agreement, which builds on collaboration that started in 1997, will cover improvements to the CitrixMetaFrame Access Suite that runs on Microsoft WindowsTerminal Server.

Bob Muglia, Microsoft vice president of the Windows ServerDivision, said in a statement that the Citrixdeal would result in an improved and more extensibleWindows Server platform for ISVs, adding that itbroadened Windows server solutions and bolsteredLonghorn’s appeal in the market.

The companies also said that for existingcustomers, the agreement will provide enhancedcollaboration to achieve continuity for migration toMetaFrame Presentation Server on Microsoft’sforthcoming Longhorn server.

Patented Innovation

MarkTempleton, Citrix president and chief executive officer, said the improved integration with theWindows server operating system would allow simpler,easier to manage solutions and smooth migration.Despite some industry concerns that softwarepatents may act as inhibitors to innovation, Templetoncalled agreements such as the Citrix-Microsoft deal amodel for progress.

“From an industry standpoint, Citrix believes thiskind of patent and technology licensing agreement is adriver of innovation in the software ecosystem that,in the end, delivers great value to customers,”Templeton said in a statement.

Core Concentration

Yankee Group’s DiDio said the deal puts to restquestions about what might happen to Citrix solutionsif Microsoft was to “pull the rug out” and work tocreate its own access software.

DiDio also said the extended agreement with Citrixindicates that Microsoft is trying to capitalize onother companies’ talent and technologies so it canfocus on the core of its next-generation Longhorn.

“They should concentrate on the core components ofLonghorn,” she said. “It frees Microsoft toconcentrate on what they do best.”

Continuing Terminal Service

Meta Group research Vice President Steve Kleynhanssaid that the deal,while not particularly significant for Microsoft, waskey for Citrix.

“It’s good news for Citrix and its customersbecause it means MetaFrame is staying relevant andviable in the Longhorn era,” Kleynhans said.

The analyst — who downplayed the code-sharing,cross-licensing agreement between the two companies –said it was also an indication that Microsoft willcontinue supporting its Terminal Server.

“From Microsoft’s point of view, it shows theywill continue support terminal service and willimprove it incrementally,” Kleynhans said. “And Citrixwill be among customers providing input for it.”

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