Cloud Software Group and Microsoft pledge another eight years of co-opetition

Consortium will spend $1.65 billion on Azure, 365 – and of course some AI

Cloud Software Group (CSG) and Microsoft have renewed their alliance for another eight years, this time with a $1.65 billion commitment for the Group to use Redmond's cloud, productivity tools, and AI.

One of the Cloud Software Group's (CSG) members, Citrix, has been a close friend of Microsoft's for over 30 years – way back in the early days of Windows, Citrix provided remote and/or multiuser access.

This new deal will see Citrix continue to be a preferred friend of Microsoft, with status as "preferred Microsoft Global Azure Partner solution for Enterprise Desktop as a Service when collaborating with joint Azure customers."

The Register asked CSG what that means, but got no response. Microsoft told us it "refers to our go-to-market approach with Citrix." Microsoft also explained that the deal won't see it preference Citrix virtual desktops. "Microsoft will continue to serve our customers with the best possible Microsoft Cloud solution to meet their needs. Both Azure Virtual Desktop and Windows 365 have integrations with Citrix generally available," a spokesperson told The Register.

Note that mention of Azure Virtual Desktop – a desktop-as-a-service offering that Microsoft launched in 2019 in direct competition with Citrix. Whatever that "preferred partner" status entails, it appears not to include Microsoft backing off it feels its wares are superior to Citrix's.

This arrangement comes with a $1.65 billion commitment, which will see all CSG employees adopt Microsoft365. "This will empower field teams with best-in-class productivity and AI tools to enable a new wave of joint go-to-market activities," states a CSG announcement.

The deal will also see Citrix's wares sold in the Azure Marketplace, which is table stakes these days. On top of that, Azure will become CSG's preferred cloud – an arrangement that The Register has often seen come with attractive long-term pricing.

Another outcome of the deal will be CSG's engineering organizations putting GitHub Copilot to work, with the promise of increasing developer productivity by over 20 percent over an unspecified span of time – apparently "accelerating the pace of R&D across the [CSG engineering] organization."

And if all that integration isn't enough, Spotfire – a CSG member org that was once part of Tibco – has built a Copilot extension on Microsoft Azure OpenAI service, which is being touted as another sign of closeness between CSG and Redmond. ®

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