Microsoft partners with Citrix for the future of virtual desktops

Microsoft and Citrix have been working together closely for decades, but that partnership is going a step further today. Microsoft is partnering with Citrix to use the company’s Citrix Workspace portal as its “preferred digital workspace solution,” and Citrix is using Microsoft Azure as its preferred cloud platform. It’s a deal designed to speed up Citrix customers to move to the cloud and virtual desktops.

Microsoft has been investing heavily in Windows Virtual Desktops recently, ever since the pandemic forced many businesses to shift to working from home. Windows Virtual Desktop usage has grown more than three times in recent months, and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has prioritized work on both Microsoft Teams and Windows Virtual Desktops recently. Microsoft is even working on improving Windows app development for running apps in the cloud.

Both Microsoft and Citrix will share tools to transition businesses from on-premises servers to Azure and work on a roadmap for flexible working that will include joint offerings of Citrix Workspace, Azure, Microsoft 365, and more.

Citrix Workspace.

While Microsoft and Citrix are working more closely together, it’s not an exclusive deal. “Both Citrix and Microsoft will maintain their long-standing policies of supporting choice for those customers who request alternatives to meet their business requirements,” says a Microsoft spokesperson.

The deal is clearly the result of increased adoption of cloud solutions, virtual desktops, and remote working during the ongoing pandemic. “The COVID-19 pandemic has forced businesses around the world to change the way employees work, while still meeting the speed and security requirements that today’s uncertain business environment demands,” explains Citrix CEO David Henshall. “Looking forward, hybrid work models will become the standard for many customers, requiring a flexible infrastructure to support, secure, and empower their teams.”

Citrix is now planning to build a “Microsoft-centric” Workspace that improves integration with Windows Virtual Desktop, Microsoft 365, and Microsoft Teams. There are also promises of performance improvements and better functionality in the future. The deal feels like an obvious win for Microsoft Azure as well as mutual customers who already use Citrix to remotely access Windows desktops hosted in company data centers or the cloud.

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