Citrix has had many different promotional phrases over the years. Around 2000, the most popular catch phrase was “Digital Independence”.
The phrase was first introduced by Ed Iacobucci at iForum 1999. By itself, the concept does not mean much. However, based on the description from Ed it was destined to become a very important initiative from Citrix.
In a rousing keynote address this morning, Citrix Systems Inc. founder and chairman Ed Iacabucci set the tone for the two-day conference with the catch-phrase: The Age of Digital Independence.Digital Independence is a simple concept: Users get the applications they need from any client, from any server, over any connection, when they need them. This means they get access to their applications and data over LAN, WAN, dial-up, or wireless media when and where required.
It’s a simple idea, but one that has proved elusive until now. However, Iacabucci notes some impressive statistics that seem to say Digital Independence is near.
There were a number of changes made to try to make Digital Independence real. Of these, perhaps the most successful was NFuse (Project Charlotte). NFuse would later be called Web Interface. With NFuse, it was possible to provide applications through a web page.
Following Iacabucci’s “vision thing” address, Mark Templeton, president and CEO, demonstrated two new technologies the company is working on to deliver applications even more transparently. Project Charlotte has resulted in technology, now in beta, that Web-enables Citrix MetaFrame capabilities. For example, with the technology, Citrix’s now-familiar Program Neighborhood can appear inside a browser. In effect, it becomes an application portal on intranets, or accessed through the Internet. One of the applications Templeton demonstrated was Citrix Videoframe, which plays video in the browser on the Citrix environment. This will be announced later this year.
Obviously VideoFrame failed to address the market. Another area that didn’t do well was the ASP market. In fact, many of the ventures from Digital Independence did not hit the mark. Having a Unix version of MetaFrame never gained much attention. The Vertigo project never matured to the point of acceptance. It was supposed to provide a simple framework for writing web applications which were “richer”. This really didn’t make much sense then or now.
Strangely enough we are about to encounter the second phase of what was called the ASP market. Now that major players like Amazon and Google are providing services on the web, it would be possible to re-examine providing applications this way.
If you would really like to get into the details of what Digital Independence was all about, please read the Aberdeen Group Strategy Profile for Citrix’s Digital Independence.
My overall conclusion is that this initiative just started too early. Several different markets simply were not mature enough to bring all of this to reality. Also of note is that Citrix was just too young at the time to understand the scope of what it was trying to accomplish.
It was good that Citrix was willing to take risks to get this to happen. Even though the full vision did not take effect, certain pieces were pivotal to Citrix success in the future.
It’s interesting to observe that the strategies that failed could be classified more like being a fox than a hedgehog (from Good to Great). Things like Vertigo had little chance of success. It had very little to do with our core business.