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At Citrix, 'perpetual licenses' means 'we'd rather move you to a subscription'

Intros 'universal licenses' that can be deployed anywhere and include extra support sweeteners

Citrix has announced a licensing scheme that's bad news for holders of so-called perpetual licenses because the vendor will stop maintaining products sold to "larger customers" under that scheme.

The vendor stopped selling new perpetual licenses in 2019, so license-holders are sitting on old code that has almost certainly been updated over the years with new features or security fixes – and will need more.

Citrix has not previously set the expectation that such customers could be denied maintenance. Indeed the very word "perpetual" more or less implies the opposite.

The Register understands this change was communicated to customers a few weeks ago and did not go down well. We asked Citrix and its parent company Cloud Software Group to comment, but the organization declined to do so or agree to an interview.

Citrix today announced the change to perpetual licenses and a new "universal license" that allows purchasers to run its products in the cloud or on-prem environment of their choice.

The vendor asserts that's just what's needed given so many of its customers operate hybrid clouds, and that a universal license is simpler and more flexible than finickity hybrid licenses. Citrix's own hybrid licenses required users to move some apps to a cloud within a certain time.

If you don't fancy the universal licenses, Citrix told users they "will be the primary path to receive software updates and technical support benefits moving forward."

Nice code you've got there. Gee it would be a shame if the license you chose means we can't update or support it as quickly as we would on this other license here.

The new licenses will be offered "in quantities of 250 (user/device) or 100 (concurrent) licenses and up."

Hello, shelfware, my old friend.

Some Citrix customers with existing hybrid entitlements will automatically be migrated to universal licenses. Those signed up for other subscriptions or holding perpetual licenses have been told "now is the time to reach out to your partner or Citrix sales representative for more details."

NetScaler also ending perpetuals

Perpetual licenses look to be out of fashion at another CSG member company.

Application delivery controller vendor NetScale, which was spun out of Citrix to become a standalone vendor, last week announced it would end sale of perpetual licenses for its MPX and SDX hardware, plus its VPX and BLX software.

Sales of perpetual licenses end on March 5th. Subscriptions replace perpetual licenses.

The post announcing the licenses also offered a little glimpse of Citrix's strategy now that it's one member of the Cloud Software Group, by revealing "we are optimizing our investments to prioritize customer experience and value in these key areas:"

  • Accelerating investment in core technologies, such as HDX, provisioning, admin experience, and StoreFront;
  • Innovation of adjacent, high-demand solutions, like zero trust, SaaS and web access, and monitoring and analytics;
  • Expansion of our world-class support, including direct integration into the Citrix Engineering team for a seamless experience.

The last point is perhaps the most interesting as it suggests Citrix engineering has not been connected to its support teams – a less than ideal way to handle tricky problems.

That may be one reason Citrix has experienced so much strife and uncertainty over the years, and hints that maybe CSG really is making changes that could turn things around.

The Register again today requested an interview with CSG to discuss its strategy. It has rebuffed multiple previous requests, so we are not holding our breath. ®

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