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Citrix announces DesktopPlayer for Mac, bringing Windows virtual desktops to MacBook users

Steve Sande, @stevensande
January 9, 2014
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One challenge for enterprise IT departments embracing "bring your own device" (BYOD) schemes is that they lose control of the highly controlled managed desktop environments that they've created over the years. This is especially true when employees decide that their device of choice is going to be a MacBook... Citrix today announced a solution that will make both employees and IT departments happy -- Citrix DesktopPlayer for Mac.

For many enterprises, Citrix XenDesktop provides a way to create standard cloud-based desktop images complete with operating system, productivity apps like Microsoft Office, policy controls and proprietary applications, and then distribute those images to networked employees. Any changes that need to be made to the image go through a rigorous test, and then the revised image is pushed to employee PCs. What Citrix Desktop Player brings to MacBook users is a way to use the same Windows virtual desktop images on their devices, even when there's no network availability.

While the base OS X load on the MacBook remains under the control of the employee, the enterprise gains control of the virtual desktop. According to Citrix, an IT department can "prevent access to, expire or even remotely wipe local virtual desktops in the event of device loss, theft or when an employee or contractor leaves the company."

DesktopPlayer comes from Citrix at the right time -- the company cites information from Forrester Research showing by 2016, the number of employees using their own laptop or tablet will double. Citrix did its own survey and found that BYO MacBooks will grow from a present level of 5 percent of employee base in enterprises to 16 percent by 2016.

DesktopPlayer is available as a XenDesktop FlexCast add-on at US$75 per user/per device. The company has a 90-day free trial available that can be used with Synchronizer to manage up to 10 MacBook Pro or MacBook Air laptops.

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