Remote access software maker Citrix Systems will buy web-based desktop access developer Expertcity in a $225m cash and stock deal. The deal is expected to close in early next year.
Expertcity offers GoToMyPC, a service offering browser-based access to remote PCs. Easy to set up, and with prices starting at $19.95 a month, the service has attracted more than 100,000 customers, primarily home workers.
Citrix will maintain the GoToMyPC brand and allow Expertcity to continue operating out of its California headquarters under the leadership of existing chief executive officer Andreas von Blottnitz, said Citrix chief executive officer Mark Templeton.
Citrix makes server software that allows companies to centrally manage applications for their end users. The company hopes to use Expertcity to tap markets untouched by its expensive enterprise products.
Citrix also hopes to accelerate Expertcity's drive to be taken seriously by businesses.
Expertcity claims 4,000 corporate clients, including Verizon Communications and Cisco Systems, but analysts said GoToMyPC is, essentially, a consumer service that occasionally shows up in workplaces as a departmental solution.
"I look at Expertcity as a real dark horse in the corporate remote access space," said Zeus Kerravala, vice-president of research firm Yankee Group's enterprise infrastructure group. "From a customer perspective, I can see where Expertcity could play in the enterprise market, but they haven't historically."
The acquisition could prove a cultural challenge for Citrix, which has never before dealt with supporting home and small-office customers, Kerravala added. He also foresees a potential for conflicts in the company's network of partners and channel resellers.
"They will now start competing with SSL [Secure Sockets Layer] VPN [virtual private network] suppliers," he said. "Citrix has never really been a competitor to anybody. They've been a partner to everybody. Now they'll be friends to some people and an enemy to others."
SSL VPN systems are attractive to companies requiring a high level of security for remote access to enterprise applications and data. Citrix sees GoToMyPC, which is not an SSL VPN, appealing to a different market, said Citrix senior vice-president of corporate development Dave Jones.
Citrix does not expect to alter GoToMyPC's pricing or service in the near future.
"We're going to run it as a separate business and look for synergy," he said. "Our focus initially will be to introduce them to our channels and our alliance partners, and our large base of enterprise customers."
Stacy Cowley writes for IDG News Service