I’ve kept more than my fair share of Citrix stuff over the years.
In this case, I want to share with you an article I kept from 1996. It was perhaps the first in-depth article about Citrix from a local newspaper. I think they did a great job.
I tried to find an online version of this article (in the hopes of making it easier for me to share) but it does not appear to exist. If one of you find it, I’d love to hear about it.
I’m going to stop before the end of the article for a couple of reasons. First of all, It’s a fairly long article and even though I type fast my patience can eventually wear out. Secondly, the best bits of the article are towards the beginning.
I’ll start by showing the headline picture and quote:
Sun-Sentinel – September 8, 1996
By L. A. Lorek
Window of Opportunity
Citrix Systems takes off after shifting its focus from IBM and OS/2 to the Microsoft juggernaut
When the software wizard Edward Iacobucci left International Business Machines in 1989, he didn’t know what he was going to do — he just knew he needed a change.
Iacobucci had led IBM’s development team in Boca Raton in creating its OS/2 operating system software.
After quitting, he pondered a career as an author. His first book, OS/2 Programmer’s Guide, had just been published. Microsoft CEO Bill Gates who developed OS/2 with IBM, wrote the book’s foreword, declaring OS/2 “the most important operating system, and possibly program, of all time.”
That statement — coming from Gates, whose Windows program eventually eclipsed OS/2 — made Iacobucci famous in software circles.
Although Iacobucci had an offer from McGraw Hill to write more technology books, he decided instead to found Citrix Systems to develop software products base on OS/2.
Today, Citrix Systems, based in Coral Springs, has become one of the country’s fastest-growing companies — but not because of OS/2. Citrix has taken off because it has developed a way to let the most basic computers run Microsoft Windows from a network server.
Intel, Novell and Microsoft are just a few of Citrix’s business partners. Last year, it earned $1.9 million on revenue of $14.6 million. It recorded second-quarter net income this year of $3.7 million on revenues of $9.5 million.
Citrix has grown to 125 employees and plans to add more workers as it moves into a 72,000 square foot building in Fort Lauderdale’s Cypress Creek next year.
“People say we’re an overnight success. We’re not,” said Iacobucci, founder, chairman, and chief technical officer at Citrix. “It took pressure, hard work, focus, good people and adaptability. You have to take it all a step at a time.”
Citrix’s Cinderella story has been six years in the making. A few times, the company didn’t look like it was going to survive.
From the beginning, Citrix was no ordinary startup.
It raised $15 million from three of the country’s largest venture-capital firms – Sevin Rosen Fund of Dallas; Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers of San Francisco; and Mayfield Fund of Menlo Park, Calif.
The firms financed Citrix primarily because the believed in its founders, its engineers and their technology plans.
By February 1991, Citrix had licensed the source code for OS/2 and developed OS/2 Citrix Multiuser. The software program let dozens of people working on separate terminals run their software on a single, high-powered computer.
Citrix was on top of the world. It had different technology, strong vision, top-caliber engineers and financial backing.
Then its world crashed.
“The week we shipped our first product, The Wall Street Journal published an article saying that Microsoft and IBM were splitting,” Iacobucci said. “Things didn’t look very happy then.”
The one thing Citrix didn’t count on was that OS/2 would come into question. From a marketing standpoint, it was a tough situation, Iacobucci said. No one wanted to buy OS/2 Citrix Multiuser because no one knew what the future of OS/2 would be.
“In retrospect, it was probably the very best thing you can hope for,” Iacobucci said.
But at the time, things looked bleak. Citrix had run out of money. It needed to raise more capital and reposition its product line.
“Right off the bat, we deemphasized OS/2 and emphasized our multiuser DOS system,” Iacobucci said.
Then Citrix went back to Microsoft and licensed Windows technology.
In 1993, Citrix developed a relationship with Novell, which had a problem connecting by remote access to Windows. As a solution, Citrix created WinView, a program that let users who don’t have Windows tap into Windows programs. The software lets people in remote locations access Windows programs on a corporate network using different types of computers and operating system software.
Citrix produced an upgrade, WinFrame, last year. WinFrame draws on the power behind Windows NT, the networking version of Microsoft’s operating system that is designed for large corporations.
Microsoft liked what it saw. It invested in Citrix and today holds a 6 percent stake in the company.
“Citrix is all about building the right kind of relationships and partnerships,” Iacobucci said.