Won Best of VMworld 2016, kicked out of Citrix Synergy 2016 & 2017

by Amitabh Sinha on Feb 21, 2017 5:00:00 AM

Feels like Deja Vu

Does this sound familiar at all?  It feels like déjà vu to many of us.  Of the two big industry events in the VDI space, we’ll only be exhibiting at VMworld 2017, because, for the second year in a row, Citrix won’t allow Workspot to exhibit at Synergy 2017 in May. In an email they stated “After further review, Citrix is going to decline Workspot’s sponsorship due to the competitive nature of Workspot’s product portfolio."  It’s a puzzling move from Citrix given their history.

The 2009 Controversy

Way back in 2009, VMware changed its sponsorship rules for VMworld, and although attendees to this top-notch industry event expected it to be just that – an industry event – the net effect of the new sponsorship rules was that two companies with competitive product portfolios - Citrix and Microsoft - were barred from exhibiting.  Citrix claimed that VMware was trying to suppress any competition, and they made a pretty big deal about it.  According to an article written at the time by Nick Farrell in The Inquirer, “Citrix wrote in a statement that VMworld has become a proprietary event run by one vendor.” In the article Nick goes on to quote Citrix who said “… When it comes down to it, if customers want a more open event, they will have to give that feedback directly to VMware or vote with their feet by attending other shows that don't restrict competitors."

VMware, after Sanjay Poonen took over EUC, in 2013, has allowed Citrix into VMWorld every single year, no objections. Sanjay never has prohibited them from exhibiting at VMWorld.

What's Best for Customers?

A year later after the dust had settled, Jon Brodkin, in an article on CIO.com, pointed out that “Despite being hosted by VMware rather than a neutral party, VMworld has become one of the most important conferences in the virtualization industry, where start-ups and established players alike showcase their latest technology.” Underscoring what Jon said in the article, VMware not only allowed Workspot to attend VMworld in 2016, but we were even allowed to receive the Best of VMworld 2016 Gold Award for Desktop and App Delivery!
We’re not completely sure, but Workspot might be the only company that has ever been barred from exhibiting at Citrix Synergy. The question is “why”?  An industry event like Synergy is all about customers – they come to learn so they can make the best choices for their organizations.  Citrix is a great company, but they aren’t the best VDI solution for every customer, (and neither is Workspot btw!) and that is why customers need to have choices. 
workspot kicked out of citrix synergy.jpg

The Times They Are A-Changin?

In 2010, referring to the controversy the previous year, the Citrix marketing VP said "At Citrix, openness is engrained in both our culture and our technology." At Workspot, we think that’s a good thing, and we’ll continue to work hard every day to honor openness and choice. That’s the best thing for customers, and VMware gets it too; that’s why we’ll proudly exhibit at VMworld later this year.

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This post was written by Amitabh Sinha

Amitabh has more than twenty years of experience across enterprise software, end user computing, mobile, and database software. Amitabh co-founded Workspot with Puneet Chawla and Ty Wang in August 2012. Prior to Workspot, Amitabh was the General Manager for Enterprise Desktops and Apps at Citrix Systems. In his five years at Citrix, Amitabh was VP Product Management for XenDesktop and VP Engineering for the Advanced Solutions Group. Amitabh has a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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