Cooperation or Competition: The Microsoft/Citrix Partnership

Co-opertition? Making Sense of the Microsoft/Citrix Partnership

The dust is starting to settle over the announcement this summer that Microsoft and Citrix are forming a partnership to embrace the cloud and mobility.

Call it co-opertition or frenemies. Regardless, the decision by these two who have had a partnership for more than 25 years is shaking up the Digital Business world with their convergence of cloud, mobile and big data.

When you get beyond the buzzwords, the move will let businesses embrace the cloud to be more agile, mobilize their business, make sure their people use the most advanced and secure operating system available, and give people the best productivity tools available.

The renewed partnership is built on four topics:

  • To help accelerate the move to the cloud
  • To help further empower users on mobile devices
  • To help accelerate the move to Windows 10
  • To help accelerate the move to Office 365

Embracing the Cloud

We’ve been hearing about the promise of the cloud for a long time. Pundits have gushed about the ability to add IT capacity on-demand, while reducing their need to maintain IT infrastructure. As the cloud vendors have matured, initial concerns about security and reliability have been addressed.

Yet, moving to the cloud, particularly for large enterprises, can seem like an overwhelming process. That’s why Citrix and Microsoft are working together to make that process as simple and easy as possible. In fact, a lot of customers have asked us to offer managed services, such as virtual and mobile workspaces that we maintain and operate. So we’re working with Microsoft to deliver all of our key products as a service hosted in Azure, which is our strategic cloud for our future “as-a-Service” roadmap.

Simplifying the Process of Mobilizing Businesses

Around the world and in almost every industry, businesses face the need to embrace mobility. Citrix and Microsoft customers have been asking for integration between Citrix and Microsoft enterprise mobility management solutions.

That’s why we are working together on new integrations between Citrix XenMobile, NetScaler and the Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS). Moving forward, Citrix NetScaler will integrate with EMS to provide virtual private network capabilities for secure, identity-based access to on-premises applications on Intune-managed devices. This gives customers a broad array of options for managing access to on-premises applications in an increasingly mobile-first world.

We’ve also heard customers asking to integrate our applications to make it easier to manage everything from one console. Moving forward, Citrix Worx Email and Forms applications, ShareFile enterprise file share and sync, and Citrix Receiver will support EMS, making it easy for customers to manage and secure these all of these mobile apps from within EMS.

Enabling Even Faster and Easier Migrations to Windows 10

Many of our biggest customers want to move to Windows 10 to take advantage of its expanded security capabilities, which reinforces why we see Windows 10 as the most secure platform for organizations. Whenever a significant OS migration like Windows 10 occurs, we see a corresponding rise in the use of app and desktop virtualization.

For the past year, Citrix has been supporting Windows 10 migrations in 3 critical ways: 1) deliver immediate app access from Windows 10 devices using XenApp, 2) rapidly deploy Windows 10 virtual desktops with XenDesktop VDI and 3) accelerate app migration for Windows 10 upgrades using AppDNA. We continue to innovate in the space, so we encourage you to follow and learn all about Citrix’s Windows 10 efforts here.

Now Citrix and Microsoft are making Windows 10 deployments even easier, more efficient and cost-effective. To help customers move their workspaces to the cloud, we’re creating a new Windows 10 VDI service on Azure, another industry first. This means customers can deploy the most advanced and secure desktops available directly within the Azure cloud, which makes it easier to align your workspace needs with your business objectives. Business IT has never been so agile or cost-effective.

Delivering the Most Widely Deployed Productivity Suite – Office 365

Microsoft Office 365 adoption is multiplying according to industry reports, and it’s easy to see why. By moving to Office 365, organizations are able to deliver apps and ease-of-use that people have learned to expect from Office, with an experience that has been adapted to work on smartphones and tablets. XenApp and XenDesktop stand apart by delivering the full capabilities available from Office 365 through virtual apps and desktops, particularly Skype for Business.

In fact, Citrix and Microsoft have put in a lot of work to make the Skype for Business experience over XenApp or XenDesktop one that no one else can match. Citrix is the only vendor recommended by Microsoft for virtual delivery of Skype for Business. So, for any customer planning to run virtual apps and desktops to add a layer of security Citrix is the only way to make sure your people benefit from the same high quality experience with Skype for Business that they get running locally on their devices.


Clearly, leadership teams at Citrix and Microsoft understand the value of working together. That’s why they’ve taken their partnership to new levels, working hand-in-hand to simplify and create flexible migration paths to the latest computing platforms to drive Digital Business. Together, they will help you optimize productivity across all devices, while ensuring compliance, manageability, auditability and IT cost efficiency.

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