Some people just don’t get it: Microsoft did not enhance Windows Server 2008 Terminal Services with the intent of replacing either Citrix or Ericom. It’s not because it can’t, it’s because it doesn’t want to. Microsoft is earning several hundred million dollars a year from TS CALs without hardly spending a dime on sales or marketing of Terminal Services. It’s a wonderful deal for Microsoft, and it has no intent of jeopardizing it. Case in point – Microsoft has been sitting on much of this technology for at least 4 years. Had its intent been to take over this market, it could have pounced some time ago, e.g. Windows 2003 SP2. Moreover, Microsoft product managers have repeatedly and explicitly stated that the intent of Windows Server 2008 Terminal Services is to provide a “better entry-level solution” and that it is “optimized for low complexity scenarios”. They do not position it as a replacement for high-end Server Based Computing solutions such as Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect or Citrix Presentation Server.
If Microsoft’s intent is not to take over the Server Based Computing market, why have they enhanced their Terminal Services offering? One reason, I believe, is that their existing solution is so very limited that they were under great pressure from customers and partners to enhance it. The primary reason though is that Microsoft does want to sell more TS CALs. By providing a better entry-level solution, many organizations that previously had not been exposed to Server Based Computing will now be able to try it out because it is an integral part of Windows Server 2008. Some of these organizations, in particular smaller ones that have simpler needs, may stick with Windows Server 2008 Terminal Services. Those that have more sophisticated requirements or need to support more users will upgrade to Ericom or Citrix. Either way, Microsoft sells more TS CALs.
Bottom line, Windows Server 2008 is not a replacement to Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect or Citrix Presentation Server – it lacks too many enterprise features. Only those Server Based Computing solutions that specifically target the low-end market will be adversely affected by its release. I predict that the sales of the enterprise-grade solution will actually increase as more organizations are exposed to the benefits of Server Based Computing.