Everything you need to know about Citrix

A white brick office site with blue windows with the word Citrix displayed on the tallest building

Citrix was founded in the state of Texas way back in 1989. Since then it has grown into one of the largest software and cloud service providers in the world, added various lines of business, and has gone from private to public and back again.

The company offers services for virtualization, storage, networking, software as a service, and cloud computing, and has a remarkably varied history with multiple acquisitions, financial highs, and stock market lows.

Here we will look at its history, its products, and its future.

A brief history of Citrix

What would eventually become Citrix first emerged in 1989 when IBM developer Ed lacobucci founded a company called Citra in Richardson, Texas. A trademark dispute led to a renaming that merged Citrix with UNIX.

In its early days, Citrix forged a crucial partnership with Microsoft, licensing the software giant's code to develop remote access products for its various operating systems. This partnership fuelled Citrix's initial growth and remains a key relationship.

Quick facts on Citrix

  • Founded in 1989 by Ed Iacobucci
  • Headquarters in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, US
  • Citrix employs around 9,000 people as of 2023
  • Citrix’s revenue for 2022 was $3.31 billion

By the 1990s, Citrix became the leader in thin client technology, enabling remote access to servers and resources through purpose-built devices. Riding this wave, Citrix held a successful IPO in 1995 and saw revenues surge through to the end of the decade.

Through key acquisitions like ExpertCity and Sequoia Software, Citrix expanded beyond its roots into areas like server and desktop virtualization, cloud computing, and software as a service.

More recently, in 2022, private equity firms Vista Equity Partners and Evergreen Coast Capital acquired Citrix. The company then merged with TIBCO Software to form the new Cloud Software Group.

What does Citrix sell?

Citrix built its name as a leader in virtualization, providing solutions that allow businesses to create virtual versions of hardware, operating systems, storage, networks and more. Flagship offerings like Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops give IT control over virtual machines, apps, licensing, and security, while enabling anywhere access.

The company expanded into networking, delivering products like Citrix Web App Firewall, Citrix Gateway, Citrix Application Delivery Management, Citrix SD-WAN. These tools ensure reliable, secure application and data access across networks and clouds, whether in a data centre, branch office or on mobile.

Citrix transitioned some of its virtualization strengths into the cloud, providing software-as-a-service tools like Citrix DaaS that enable simplified management of secure cloud desktops and apps.

The company also offers cloud computing capabilities through Citrix Cloud, a platform that connects resources across chosen on-prem, public cloud, or hybrid environments.

On the workspace side, Citrix Workspace app and digital workspace solutions aim to deliver unified access to apps, desktops, and content from any device. Content Collaboration is Citrix's file sync and sharing product, helping businesses share content on-premise and in the cloud with other collaborators such as colleagues and clients.

Finally, Citrix leverages analytics in offerings like Citrix Analytics for Security that provide intelligence on threats and performance issues before they become critical. This product collects data across the Citrix portfolio, generating actionable insights to enable administrators to handle user and application security threats - monitoring potential vulnerabilities across an organisation.

Citrix M&A activity

Citrix's acquisition journey began in the early 2000s, making strategic deals like the purchase of ExpertCity in 2003 to expand its remote desktop capabilities.

Over the following decades, Citrix continued growing through acquisitions that complemented its product line or opened new markets. A 2014 deal for Framehawk boosted its virtual desktop and app delivery over wireless networks.

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In recent years, Citrix made notable moves like acquiring Unidesk in 2017 to enhance its application layering technology for virtual desktop environments.

In 2021, Citrix acquired Wrike, a competitor to popular workplace chat app Slack, for $2.25bn (£1.65bn). The final price was around a quarter of a billion dollars higher than initially predicted, marking the largest acquisition for the company up to that point.

But the most monumental deal came in 2022, when private equity firms Vista Equity Partners and Evergreen Coast Capital acquired Citrix for $16.5 billion. This acquisition underscored Citrix's immense value and set the stage for its next evolution under the newly formed Cloud Software Group. 

With its robust technology and market foothold now backed by major investment, Citrix is positioned to continue its role in cloud computing, virtualization and beyond.

What can customers expect from doing business with Citrix?

Citrix has established itself as a leader in digital workspace technology, aiming to help organizations improve efficiency, experience, risk management and costs. The company's extensive solutions portfolio spans from flagship offerings like virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and desktop as a service (DaaS) to comprehensive digital workspaces.

These technologies support digital transformation for organizations of all sizes. However, Citrix views partnerships as instrumental to delivering on this vision. The company offers various partner programs designed to provide enablement, tools, and resources to deepen customer relationships and drive growth.

For instance, Citrix's partner initiatives aim to equip partners to manage customer lifecycles through training, incentives and support focused on product expertise.

For both customers and partners, Citrix strives to deliver an ecosystem that empowers achievement of business and technology goals associated with managing data and apps across complex IT environments.

With its focus on innovative yet secure workspaces and collaboration with partners, Citrix sees itself as a key enabler of digital transformation for today's enterprises.

Keumars Afifi-Sabet
Contributor

Keumars Afifi-Sabet is a writer and editor that specialises in public sector, cyber security, and cloud computing. He first joined ITPro as a staff writer in April 2018 and eventually became its Features Editor. Although a regular contributor to other tech sites in the past, these days you will find Keumars on LiveScience, where he runs its Technology section.