The company began by developing remote access products for Microsoft operating systems. It licensed source code from Microsoft and has been in partnership with the company throughout its history. Citrix came to prominence in the 1990s as a leader in thin client technology. Through several acquisitions in the mid-2000s, the company expanded into server and desktop virtualization, as well as cloud and Infrastructure as a Service.
Citrix currently services around 330,000 organizations worldwide and is based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in the Miami metropolitan area, and Santa Clara, California, with subsidiary operations in California and Massachusetts, and additional development centers in Canada, Germany, Denmark, the United Kingdom, India and Australia.
Citrix was founded in Richardson, Texas in 1989 by former IBM developer Ed Iacobucci with $3 million in funding. Following its initial setup and development, Iacobucci moved the company to his former home of Coral Springs, Florida. The company's first employees were five other engineers from IBM that Iacobucci convinced to join his team. Iacobucci served as chairman of the company and Roger Roberts became the CEO of Citrix in 1990. Citrix was originally named Citrus, but changed its name after an existing company claimed trademark rights. The Citrix name is a portmanteau of Citrus and UNIX.
The company's first product was Citrix Multiuser, an extension of OS/2 developed over two years. Citrix licensed the OS/2 source code from Microsoft, and developed its own Independent Computing Architecture (ICA) protocol for Citrix Multiuser. Multiuser allowed multiple users working on separate computers remote access to software on a server, even from computers not built to run OS/2. Three days before the product launched in 1991, Microsoft announced they would be switching from OS/2 to Windows. The switch made Multiuser nearly unusable without significant changes to make it compatible with Windows or DOS. The company discussed closing in 1991, but investments from Intel, Microsoft and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers among others, allowed the company to work on a new version of Multiuser.
Multi-Win version 2.0 was released in 1992. It was compatible with DOS applications and allowed up to five users. In 1993, Citrix released a new remote applications server, WinView, which had the ability to run DOS and Windows applications. By 1994, the company's yearly revenue equaled US$10 million.
The company launched WinFrame, a multi-user operating system based on Microsoft’s Windows NT, in 1995. The new product allowed up to 15 users and was the first thin client for Windows.