Citrix Systems founder Ed Iacobbuci is trailing the prospect of new, non-Microsoft server platforms for the company later this year, but denies that this will represent any weakening of his ties with Bill Gates.
?There are things that we may be involved in that Microsoft may or may not choose to be involved in,? Iacobucci said. ?Real cool Java workstations, for example. But that doesn?t mean Microsoft doesn?t want it to happen. We?re the dirty little secret nobody wants to talk about.?
Citrix?s core business in currently based on WinFrame, a multi-user version of Windows NT which allows thin clients, terminals and non-Windows clients to run Win32 applications remotely.
The technology is popular with IT managers, who can run Citrix?s ICA thin client on older PCs rather than upgrade to new hardware, and it has also fuelled something of a renaissance for Wyse, which now sells ICA-enabled clients for NT networks. Citrix technology is also important to the forthcoming multi-user version of NT 4.0, codenamed Hydra, and Iacobucci says that once this ships Citrix and Microsoft will be working together in the marketplace for [NT] 4.0 and beyond.
At the same time, Citrix has broadened its base substantially. It recently signed an exclusive licence agreement with EPiCON that will give access to application installation and replication technology for use in multi-user server farms, and has also bought a collection of Unix and Mac technology, plus 42 software engineers and a High Wycombe research centre, from British developer Insignia Solutions.
Iacobucci now proposes to build on a slew of ICA licensing deals with the likes of Sun, IBM and Sharp, and to move further into the back office, providing a range of application servers, mechanisms and management tools.
Citrix has no intention of abandoning the NT market, which Iacobucci points out is where the applications are, but in broadening its base he accepts that the company will have to deal with, and quite possibly develop for, other server platforms.
He envisages, for example, a video streaming server which may or may not be dependent on NT. Likely platforms include Sun, which remains strong in workstations and the Internet, and AS/400, which already accesses Win32 applications via a Citrix client. But Iacobucci won?t name the names yet: ?We?ll work with everybody in the world,? he said. ?And we?ll work with anybody that?s coming.?
* Reports confirmed that a multiuser version of NT, using Citrix Hydra technology, is set to be released in May this year.
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