Google takes on virtual desktops with acquisition of app-streamer Cameyo

Legacy apps on Chromebooks is the goal, which won't terrify VDI incumbents like Citrix and Omnissa

Google has decided to take on the likes of Citrix and VMware by acquiring an outfit called Cameyo whose tech makes it possible to stream apps into browsers – including on Chromebooks.

The search giant’s announcement of the acquisition opines that “Traditionally, businesses have leveraged virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions to access legacy apps without them being installed on the device”. Google also included a quote from analyst firm Forrester Consulting - taken from research it commissioned - to the effect that VDI’s downside include a requirement for “specialized skill sets, user experience latency, and difficulty in security and management.”

That’s not wrong but omits the fact that the biggest VDI vendors – Citrix and the VMware spinout Omnissa - offer clients that allow streaming of apps. Both companies’ clients are available for Chrome OS, and also allow streaming virtual desktops into browsers.

So it’s not as if Google is breaking ground here.

Google’s head of product management for ChromeOS, Naveen Viswanatha, wrote that his company has already partnered with Cameyo on a virtual application delivery experience fully integrated with ChromeOS.

“By bringing the Cameyo team's expertise in-house, we are doubling down on our commitment to delivering a streamlined experience for virtualized applications,” he wrote.

Google has certainly picked a fine moment to get into the virtualized applications business. Citrix recently changed its licenses to require acquisition of product bundles on lengthy subscriptions. Omnissa is yet to reveal how it will operate under its new owner, private equity firm KKR.

Plenty of orgs looking to keep their legacy apps alive therefore have solid reasons to consider an alternative, a situation Google’s sales force and channel won’t ignore.

This deal is also interesting for what it says about Google’s Chromebook business, which has done well with education buyers and consumers but hasn’t made enormous inroads into the enterprise, despite offerings like Chrome Enterprise that add manageability and security to its browser-based platform. Google even offers a paid version of its browser – Chrome Enterprise Premium that for $6/month adds further infosec protection measures.

Clearly, Google thinks more is needed to interest enterprise buyers. ®

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