With an increasing number of applications being run from browsers, Google created Chromebooks as another way to wean users off the Windows platform.
Sales of the small laptops made by Hewlett-Packard, Acer, Dell, Toshiba and Samsung Electronics have picked up, with some enterprises giving them to employees for certain workloads.
Now Citrix Inc. has come up with a promotion to take advantage of the trend with special pricing for its XenApp virtual application delivery solution along with Citrix Receiver, allowing business Chromebook users can run Windows applications.
From now until Sept. 30 the company is offering 25 per cent off on XenApp Premium licences on new Chromebooks purchased during the almost six month period.
XenApp Platinum is a virtual desktop suite that allows Windows apps to be pushed to up to 100,000 users.
The promotion deliberately as support for Microsoft Windows XP ends, and is partly being pitched as a way to help migrate staff from XP to newer versions of the operating system.
Chromebooks are aimed at running Google apps through its Chrome browser, so no installed apps are needed.
“With the growing acceptance of new computing platforms in the enterprise, like Chrome, we are helping Chromebook users get access to these business-critical apps anywhere and at any time,” Sudhakar Ramakrishna, Citrix’s senior vice-president and general manager of its enterprise and service provider division said in a statement.
He noted that in Australia supermarket chain Woolworths Group has committed to equipping most staff with Chromebooks. A number of staff are already on Google Apps for Business on their desktops.
“We see a very bright future for Google and Citrix in the enterprise,” Ramakrishna said.
Despite some customers wins cited by Google, industry analyst Rob Enderle said in an email that Chromebooks have had some success in education but not much in business. “They are a thin client type of implementation which requires special servers to scale and the Citrix software has been seen as too costly. The price reduction should help with that last and with folks thinking about alternatives given their need to move off of Windows XP quickly there is a chance we could see some uptick with this alternative,” he said.
But, he added, at scale VMware’s Horizon VDI solution appears more cost effective and it seems to have better support with vendors like graphic chip maker Nvidia and VCE (a VMware/EMC/Intel/ Cisco Systems collaboration that make integrated server/storage systems) who create the needed server technology.
If Citrix can do a better job of creating an affordable solution he thinks it has a shot, and the special pricing helps. “They just need to flesh out the solution part more,” he said.