Microsoft has done an about-turn on plans to develop a multi-user version of NT, preferring to use existing technology from Citrix instead.
The decision follows a deal between the two companies announced last week.
Microsoft said last month that it would be developing Windows Terminal software (called Hydra), which would run on a multi-user version of NT.
However, at the time, the company denied it would be licensing existing multi-user NT technology from Citrix, causing Citrix's share price to plummet. Following last week's announcement, Citrix's stock price jumped $14 (#8.80) from just under $20 to nearly $34 per share.
Under the joint licensing and development deal, Microsoft will pay Citrix $75 million to license the company's multi-user NT technology. In addition, Microsoft will pay royalties to Citrix of up to $100 million for using the technology in upcoming multi-user versions of its operating systems.
Microsoft said it will work with Citrix to integrate the technology into its NT server operating system. Microsoft will build Citrix's ICA (Independent Computing Architecture) protocol for displaying the Windows user interface on remote terminals into multi-user versions of Windows NT Server. According to Microsoft, the Citrix technology will be available on NT Server versions 4 and 5.
Edward Iacobucci, Citrix chairman and chief executive officer, said: "With Microsoft's licensing and endorsement of our leading multi-user technology, our vision of thin client-server computing is clearly taking a hold."
"It's a good deal for Microsoft, Citrix and the industry," said Paul Maritz, group vice president for platform and development tools at Microsoft, "because we will have underlying compatibility shipping as standard in our products."
Citrix's ICA technology is currently used in NC devices such as the HDS @workStation from HDS Network Systems. "This is a very significant announcement for the industry," said Mike Kantrowitz, executive vice president of HDS.
"It is a major step forward. Once the operating system is available from Microsoft the market will become so much larger that corporates will be willing to invest in it. We think this will help the Windows NC market explode."
One effect of the Microsoft deal with Citrix is that it will open up the possibility of using network computers as Windows Terminals. Any NC that supports Citrix's ICA protocol will be able to offer a Windows GUI and access to Windows applications. This will make Windows Terminal a formidable rival to Oracle NC devices which should strictly only run Java.
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