Earlier this week Citrix announced that it had struck a deal with Microsoft to give it access to Windows server code for another three years. And, by some strange coincidence, Citrix will not be supporting NT 4.0, Terminal Server Edition in Metaframe XP, Feature Release 2, which is due out shortly.
Pulling the plugs on NT 4.0 TSE will not be popular with Citrix's customers, as they tend to be running reasonably big ticket systems they don't want to upgrade too frequently. Indeed many of them continued happily with NT 3.51 for quite some time after Citrix and Microsoft had made up their differences over NT 4.0, and today there are many still running NT 4.0 TSE.
One user who contacted The Register pointed out that the lack of support from FR2 means that many of them will have wasted money they've already spent, unless they spend some more on switching to Windows 2000. The Subscription Avantage program gives you all upgrades and feature releases in exchange for an annual fee. But as you won't be getting any upgrades and feature releases for NT 4.0 now...
Dropping NT is surely connected in some way with the latest Microsoft deal. We'd be the last to suggest that Microsoft would have just told Citrix it couldn't have continued access unless it dropped NT, because actually Microsoft wouldn't have needed to tell Citrix this. In making the Microsoft announcement Citrix CTO Bob Kruger said: "This deal does not extend the 1997 agreement," so actually what is important is that Microsoft has not extended the agreement, presumably meaning that Citrix is no longer licensed to carry on with NT, and certainly meaning that Microsoft won't be handing Citrix a goodly and regular wedge after the expiry of the agreement. Which is now, more or less.
How different from the last time, when Redmond threw its weight around, Ed and Nancy waved patents at the Redmond negotiators (including the one they mysteriously referred to as "the Duck"), and unprecedentedly, Microsoft gave in. Those few of you who were reading The Reg at the time may recall the stock price went through the floor, The Register told you all to BUY CITRIX, NOW!, and with the deal the stock skyrocketed. No, we didn't buy any either. And no, we're not telling you to buy any this time. Either. ®