Citrix Settles for Less

"You can't always get what you want,
But if you try sometimes you might find,
You get what you need."

-- The Rolling Stones

Sometimes you just have to settle for your next best choice.

Citrix Systems (Nasdaq: CTXS  ) has announced that it has acquired ShareFile for an undisclosed amount. ShareFile is a player in the growing market for cloud-based storage, sharing, and collaboration. Citrix had unsuccessfully pursued Silicon Valley startup Box.net for an estimated $600 million before being turned down, to help in its ongoing cloud competition with VMWare (NYSE: VMW  ) .

Box.net boasts 7 million customers at 100,000 companies, while smaller ShareFile has garnered 2 million business users among 14,000 paying corporate customers. The content- and document-management space is currently dominated by Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) and its SharePoint software, but it's also home to big players such as Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) , with Google Docs, and even smaller startups such as Dropbox. Microsoft is kicking up the defense with Office 365, but Mr. Softy is being attacked from all angles. The start-ups don't offer the full suite of development tools SharePoint offers, but they're more than capable platforms for data storage and sharing.

Although geared toward businesses of all sizes, Citrix is promoting the "personal cloud" concept, the cluster of "apps, data, preferences, and friends" that each employee has. Citrix forecasts the personal cloud market to be a "multibillion-dollar opportunity by 2015, fueled by trends such as cloud computing, faster bandwidth, email limitations, and the consumerization of IT." ShareFile CEO Jesse Lipson will join Citrix and lead its new Data Sharing product group as part of the acquisition.

Cloud storage is seeing an onslaught of growth in all areas, and this purchase will play an important role in Citrix's long-term cloud strategy.

Add Citrix to your Watchlist to watch it duke it out in the clouds. Sign up for a free trial to Rule Breakers to find out more on why cloud computer and Citrix competitor VMWare may deserve a spot in your portfolio.

Fool contributor Evan Niu is an avid Dropbox user. He holds no position in any company mentioned. Check out his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft and Google. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Microsoft, VMware, and Google and creating a bull call spread position in Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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