Last night Microsoft put out a blog “Microsoft unleashes fall wave of enterprise cloud solutions” buried in that long announcement is this little gem:
Further, with Windows Server 2012 R2 Microsoft is introducing the Microsoft Remote Desktop app, available for download in application stores later this month, to provide easy access to PCs and virtual desktops on a variety of devices and platforms, including Windows, Windows RT, iOS, OS X and Android.
As some of you may recall one of the big mistakes I’ve called Microsoft out on is that its RemoteApp platform lacks good clients (see: Wanted: Client Development for Microsoft VDI). In fact in that blog I called out three paths I foresaw Microsoft taking, the third potential path for Microsoft was for them to get in the game and not lean on others to build upon the RemoteApp “framework” and instead turn RemoteApp into a “product”. Last night’s press release from Microsoft sends a very clear signal: they are in the game.
I hope this makes a lot of organizations start to ask the question: Can Windows Server 2012’s RemoteApp Replace Citrix XenApp? after all if you ask the question you’ll want to see my research :). In all seriousness, I think its a very important question to ask and that’s why I wrote the research about it early this year. I do plan on updating that paper next year as Microsoft continues to build out its RemoteApp strategy so Gartner clients stay tuned to that. The fact is if RemoteApp is “good enough” this has the potential to displace a lot of Citrix XenApp (now XenDesktop) licenses.
One final note on this: A challenge that still needs to be addressed is how to make Windows applications work well on a touch device, I discussed that in: The Good, the Bad and the Right Way to Deliver Windows Apps on iPads and Androids. Shameless plug I know but all of this is interrelated in our virtual desktop and application delivery strategies (plug!).