I joined Citrix as the VP and GM of the Desktops and Apps product group about one month ago. In that short time, there’s been an amazing amount of news in our market from both Citrix and our competitors, like VMware – acquisitions, partnerships, events and more. One recent announcement from VMware caught my eye in particular “VMware and Google to Modernize Corporate Desktops for the Mobile Cloud Era.”

This caught my attention because it sounded very familiar, and after a little digging, I realized why – Citrix is very focused on our partners and this includes our relationship with Google that we announced way back in 2010: “New Citrix Receiver Lets Chrome Notebook Users Run Windows Business Apps.”  This announcement kicked off a strong and fruitful relationship between Citrix and Google with several important achievements along the way:

  • We have jointly won several, large-scale projects over the past three-plus years to help customers secure and deliver business applications
  • Chromebook OEMS like Samsung, HP, Acer and Dell have certified their devices as Citrix Ready, ensuring that customers can adopt these new devices and still gain access to all their critical line-of-business apps. Google put on an impressive display at our partner and sales event, Citrix Summit 2014, showing the latest Chromebooks.
  • Citrix Service Providers (CSPs) have been delivering Windows apps-as-a-service to Chromebooks to a variety of markets, including education, healthcare and finance. Our 2,600+ CSPs can today deliver simple, one-click access to Windows apps that appear side-by-side with Google apps in a seamless experience.

Note that I said “apps,” and not “desktops”  or “DaaS.” VMware’s announcement focuses quite a bit on a future ability to deliver DaaS to Chromebooks. DaaS – a Windows desktop layered on top of Chrome – is the last thing that customers want! Customers want quick, intuitive Windows app access on their Chromebooks, which is what Citrix and Google are jointly delivering. People don’t want to have to launch a virtual desktop to get to an app, which is the experience that VMware offers.

To see how clunky a desktop-centric approach can be, let’s take a simple example: What if you have 2 apps that conflict with each other, such as 2 versions of Excel that integrate with different LOB apps? Or maybe 2 apps that require different versions of Windows? These are very common scenarios that we regularly help customers address. The VMware approach makes the user launch TWO desktops, then find the apps in each desktop and launch them – complex, confusing and slow. With Citrix, people just see two application icons in Chrome OS, and launch them – simple, intuitive and fast.

Citrix continues to lead the industry on user experience technologies. As fast as Chromebooks are growing, the reality is that Chromebooks are just a portion of the device landscape, which includes tablets, phones, thin clients, PCs and Macs. Regardless of the device, Citrix HDX offers a common set of policies and security controls to span them all, making the end user experience AND the IT experience best-in-class. VMware has been moving fast, but struggling to reconcile and integrate the disparate user experience technologies they have acquired.  A VMware solution makes customers juggle 3 different protocols to deliver virtual desktops to different devices that people need: Blast (for Chromebook and browser access), PCoIP (for thin client, mobile device and desktop access) as well as RDP (for RDS workloads). Each of those not only has different capabilities, but also different policies and management frameworks. This is confusing for users and a tremendous management headache for IT.

And last but not least, customers also tell us they chose the Citrix solution over VMware because when they move out of the test lab and into real deployments, Citrix scales efficiently and cost effectively.  One recent customer that Citrix and Google are jointly working with is a very large retailer in the Pacific region. They are in the process of delivering several Windows apps to 20,000 Chromebooks.  Citrix enables them to scale to those numbers, while providing the monitoring and provisioning simplicity that is expected. To do the same, VMware would have to architect around some hard upper limits of 2,000 users in some components, leading to a lot of complexity at that scale.

So as you can see, I am really excited to be at Citrix – great solutions, great product and great partnerships. Citrix will continue to focus on our execution and long-standing partnership with Google that is not only delivering value for customers today, but growing stronger with every release of XenApp and XenDesktop. We are two companies that are aligned on vision: Google wants people to “work the way you live,” and Citrix helps you “Work better. Live better.” That partnership is set to take off to a new level in the near future, so watch this space!