Bullish NetScaler and Citrix square up to rivals

CEO finds Braveheart spirit on honeymoon in Edinburgh...

CEO finds Braveheart spirit on honeymoon in Edinburgh...

The CEOs of Citrix and NetScaler have appeared together in public for the first time since the announcement last week that Citrix is set to acquire NetScaler for $300m.

Mark Templeton, CEO of Citrix, and BV Jagadeesh, CEO of NetScaler, took to the stage at the Citrix iForum event in Edinburgh and presented a united front befitting what Jagadeesh called "a marriage made in heaven".

Jagadeesh also took advantage of his post-deal debut to sound a warning to those companies who didn't take NetScaler seriously as a smaller start-up heading towards profitability and a likely IPO in 2006 until Citrix came calling.

He told silicon.com the likes of Cisco and Juniper flexing their muscles and throwing their weight around had made for "a very competitive landscape and we started to realise what we needed was the muscle to fight back against Cisco".

So, does he believe Citrix gives his company that muscle? "Absolutely," he said.

"Technically our product was always superior," said Jagadeesh, adding that customers only went elsewhere because of the lack of vision which often favours the 'household name' brands.

However, the rival likely to be hit hardest by the deal is F5, he claimed as Citrix's considerable strength in the channel will come into play.

"Some of the channel that Citrix has sells NetScaler rivals such as F5," said Jagadeesh. "Some of those guys who are very loyal to Citrix may now slow their sales of F5."

Although the deal was only announced late last week, Jagadeesh told silicon.com he had been aware a trip to Edinburgh may have been on the cards for some three or four weeks.

"One of the reasons we announced it last week was so I could be here this week."

He said Citrix's prominent position in Europe, where it derives almost half its revenues, meant it was important he attend in order to meet customers in a European market which in the past year contributed only 20 per cent of his own company's revenue.

He also confirmed the NetScaler brand will remain.

Given the apparent overwhelming enthusiasm on both sides for this deal, any sceptics were left with only the slightly contrived but harmless level of chuminess effected as grounds for complaint.

At times during a joint keynote address to partners and customers, Citrix's Templeton spoke in a tone reminiscent of somebody introducing a partner to their parents, almost imploring them to shine.

He teed up questions such as "this sounds like a great solution but is it proven?" as a means of allowing Jagadeesh to reel off customers already on board such as Amazon, Betfair and Google.

"Wow! I think we should buy this company," Templeton joked. And in 60 days, pending SEC approval, he will have done.

New best mates? Mark Templeton, CEO of Citrix and B V Jagadeesh, CEO of NetScaler appear in public for the first time since the $300m deal was announced.