Something must be happening at Redmond if Microsoft for the first time ever decides to roll out a VDI strategy that doesn’t include Citrix as the exclusive partner.
It’s a well-known thing that Microsoft and Citrix are deeply in love with each other, sharing similar hypervisor architectures, a common roadmap, and marketing and sales resources to carry on their virtualization strategies and erode the VMware market share.
It’s true that in 2010 Microsoft will introduce a basic connection broker (called Remote Desktop Connection Broker) in the upcoming Windows Server 2008 R2, but the reality is that the Microsoft sales force recommends XenDesktop as the solution of choice for any VDI scenario. At least so far.
Today Quest announced a major deal with Microsoft to integrate its vWorkspace (the former VAS acquired by Provision Networks in November 2007) with Hyper-V, App-V and System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM).
It’s great success for Quest/Provision Networks which is now validated to the eyes of customers as much as Citrix in VDI scenarios. Yet, the big question is: why Microsoft has changed its strategy?
Every year its relationship with Citrix becomes stronger (the announcement of Citrix Essentials for Hyper-V is just the last piece of a complex puzzle), so it’s unclear why the leadership at Redmond felt the need to look for alternatives.
The official statements about the Microsoft position in the market and its successful strategy to build a rich partners ecosystem won’t work in this case or Microsoft would have executed it a long time ago.
So it’s possible that something is actually happening at Citrix. For example is possible that the company is in acquisition talks and while Microsoft feels threatened it doesn’t want to participate the bid.
In this case opening its strategy to Citrix competitors may be a necessary counter-move to do as soon as possible.
Update: The deal is not an OEM deal. The post has been updated accordingly.
The opinions about the reasons behind this Microsoft opening still apply.