Follow the Leader Leader Leader, Follow the Leader…

October 14, 2011

They may say ‘Imitation is a form of flattery’, but what about when Imitation becomes copying? …

As the user virtualization market continues to grow at an astonishing rate, I am aware that as new competitors enter a market, or when existing competitors enhance their positioning, some may look to what has proven successful for the established leader.

Recently you will have hopefully noticed that AppSense updated our corporate branding, messaging & positioning as the world moves to a people-centric computing model.  During this creation process I also took the opportunity to look back at the previous versions of our brand and messaging, and I noticed something quite interesting – we must be on to a good thing, as there are several examples of ankle-biting imitation I would like to share with you…

… You may be familiar with the (inaccurate) comparison tables and blogs published by such new or recently revamped competitive technologies, comparing their products and point solutions to the AppSense User Virtualization solution. However that is a topic for another day, what I want to focus on today in this blog post is the adoption of AppSense style branding in their go to market messaging… let me give you a few examples.

Section 1 – Use your own crayons.

We live in a creative and digital age – diversity is everywhere, everywhere apart from the graphic design and branding departments at Liquidware Labs (LWL) and RES Software…

Case 1. – Sore Throats and Lozenges

It would appear the boys at LWL spend more time creating inaccurate comparison tables and positioning their product as a second class half price alternative to AppSense instead of creating some original corporate branding.  Below you will see an image showing a portion of the welcome screen in the AppSense product console.

And below is our AppSense Management Suite offering:

I think many of you will be familiar with the above, it’s been in our software for years and we have been presenting this Suite for years at industry events. So I was a little surprised, well, flattered to see our branding on the LWL website homepage:

Notice the similarities to both layout and product icons?  I guess the boys at LWL must have sore throats from shouting all the incorrect statements about AppSense, because wow, they really like their Lozenges.

Case 2. – Where’s your head at?

Ok, so you may be thinking that’s not so much of a big deal, so what if LWL copied layout and product icons… but what about adopting a very similar image that AppSense is well known for – the virtualized user head:


Most of you will have seen the above images; it was our latest branding up until our recent uplift.  Admittedly, when most of you first saw it you asked “What is it?!” but that’s good – it provokes thought and opens doors to conversation.

A while ago I received a LWL email newsletter, with a rather striking, and familiar image…  some form of virtualized or digital user?! Surely not?  First the lozenges and now the head?  You can see it in the screenshot below, what do you think?

Case 3. – Tangled in the lines

After product icons and virtual head images comes the graphics used in web pages and banners.  Below is a sample of one of the old pages on the 

And the below graphic is what was created for AppSense Strata in mid-2009 (what is AppSense Strata is another story – look out for a post from Harry Labana soon! ;) )

The below sample was taken from the RESguru blog homepage – admittedly this blue themed banner was used prior to the recent RES rebrand to orange.. But color aside.. Looks nothing more than add a few bright particles and change the words?!



And today we have the slogan ‘More Technology – Less Koolaid!’ – Mr. Guru, I suggest something more fitting, ‘More Copying – Less Originality!’ perhaps? ;-)

Section 2 – It’s only words, and words are all I have…

Messaging and branding aside, which are in fairness only references to similarities between our branding styles, the more alarming content copying comes in the form of content and wording used in Admin Guides and Job Postings:

Case 1. – Administer this.

How many times have you heard or said ‘RTFM’?  Well, what if I were to suggest if the ‘The’ in RTFM was in fact ‘THEIR’?, because if you are a RES Software customer, and you want to learn about Windows Appearance and Control Panel Settings, you may as well read the AppSense Environment Manager How To document, because that is where they copied the wording from.  Below is a short snippet from our document:

With the above in mind, now look at the wording in the below snippet take from a Workspace Management product document… almost word for word replication:

I mentioned earlier that imitation is a form of flattery, but this is bare faced lazy copying, and certainly is not flattering… imitating our features 12 months later is one thing, but please – write your own admin guides for them :-)

Case 2. – If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em

(or at least try and attract the same people as them.)

Hands up who has ever used Copy + Paste? Everyone yes?

Ok, hands up if you have had the nerve to Copy + Paste direct from your competitors website, and then post it under the context of your company.. In full public view?! – Everyone No? – Everyone, apart from a corner cutter at RES Software.

Below is a screen shot of an old job description from, a standard job description we have used for years, in fact the job I first joined AppSense as almost 8 years ago.

Now, I noticed a few folks at RES Software had posted comments in the AppSense group on LinkedIn – no problem there, I’m all for discussions and ideas (keep it up).However from there I clicked onto the RES Software group and saw, what I can only describe as (I would say shocking, but I am not shocked, I have already seen the use of our content in their product documents) embarrassing – Advertising a job, using your competitors job description. Please see below.

I know it may seem only a small thing, but please, come on. That isn’t cricket.

You’re welcome at the table…

I am all in favor of additional vendors joining this space, the market potential is huge – the more we have, the more focus and recognition as to the importance of the user component of the desktop, the more innovation, and the more options available to end user customers – what I do object to is the recycling of AppSense created content.. if you’re going to join the table… at least come with your own chips.

For now, sit back – and enjoy your favourite song guys..



P:S – more to follow.

Get to User Centric IT Faster! AppSense and Centrix Partnership Accelerates Desktop Transformation

September 22, 2011

I am pleased to write that AppSense and Centrix Software today announced a strategic partnership to provide organizations with a comprehensive, user-centric transformation program.  AppSense and Centrix Software have been successfully working together with joint partners on large desktop transformation projects for our enterprise customers, and are proud to formalize this partnership and methodology to benefit many more enterprise IT strategies and projects.

AppSense embraces a full partner community and eco-system comprising other leading vendor/solution providers , platform partners, reseller partners, system integrators and consultancy partners, and are very excited to partner with Centrix Software.

Why? Corporate IT strategy is at a tipping point; we have entered a period of transformation, a new generation of virtual desktops, application delivery methods and multiple accessing devices are being used by an increasingly demanding and mobile workforce, coupled with migration projects such as Windows 7 adoption has paved the way for replacing static, infrastructure based computing to that of IT as a Service, orchestrated around the user and their requirements at any point in time.  AppSense and Centrix Software enables enterprise desktop transformation projects and facilitates the move to a user centric computing strategy by delivering on the requirements at each stage of the desktop life-cycle and providing both the insight and management options to seamlessly adoption new technologies such as Windows 7, Application and Desktop Virtualization, Cloud Computing and Bring Your Own Device initiatives.

The press release can be read on AppSense News Pages here.

Together, AppSense and Centrix Software will be hosting a joint webinar, “Transforming the Enterprise Desktop″, on Wednesday, October 5th at 3 p.m. GMT. The webinar will be hosted by Richard Pegden, Director of Product Marketing at Centrix Software and myself. To register please visit the webinar registration page here.

Like all of our partners, thank you Centrix Software for your continued support and enthusiasm, we look forward to even greater success in making the move to user centric computing a simple, low-cost process.

Gareth Kitson
Director of Product Marketing | EMEA.

Thinking strategically about Windows 7 will pay dividends with Windows 8

September 14, 2011

As Windows XP end of support approaches, Windows 7 migration urgency is rising for IT teams everywhere. As the pressure mounts, there is a temptation among IT pros to kick into “brute force mode,” characterized by a desire to get the project done as quickly as possible by whatever means necessary.

As we engage with customers on Windows 7 migration projects, our first piece of advice is that a strategic approach centered around user virtualization will both accelerate the actual move to Windows 7 and realize other key benefits such as:

  • Lower OS management cost through image standardization and more granular user rights management.
  • Seamless roaming between native PCs and new application and desktop virtualization approaches – either as part of the migration or whenever the time is right.
  • Enabling user environment portability – rather then performing a one-way migration – to establish a frictionless path to Windows 8 or whatever else comes along.

This last point has been more theoretical than practical…until today. Take a look at this quick video that my colleague Jon Wallace put together. Mere hours after the first developer preview of Windows 8 became available, you are already able to see user personalization applied on-demand as a user roams between Windows 7 and Windows 8:

Obviously, there is a fair bit of work remaining (by both us and Microsoft) before we will claim production-ready Windows 8 support. However, you can see the power that comes from decoupling the user from the underlying operating system and applications. Migration is replaced by enablement, and enablement becomes very easy.

Doug Lane
Director of Product Marketing

Update: Oh, by the way, it works between Windows XP and Windows 8 too:

Introduction and Microsoft Partner Solutions Center…

August 23, 2011

Hi I am Michael Kleef, Director of Business Development for Microsoft and Citrix at AppSense. I’m a recent addition to AppSense having spent nearly 11 years at Microsoft with my last role being a Senior Technical Product Manager for depth content and knowledge in Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 RDS and VDI.

I have had  few interested messages through my email and privately over twitter (@mkleef) asking why I left Microsoft and chose to go to AppSense. Essentially I was really excited by what I saw AppSense doing; transforming the discussion from device centric computing to a world of user centric computing. The interesting thing is that even while I was at Microsoft I was seeing evidence that in addition to Microsoft, many other companies saw great value in AppSense such as inclusion with a number of major players into their reference architectures such as the HP client reference architecture and Cisco VXI. AppSense also won the Citrix Ready Partner of the Year 2010. I did my own due diligence looking at others, though in the end it made it an easy slam dunk move to go to the market leader in the user virtualization space.

Microsoft is obviously a critical partner in multiple areas for AppSense, so it’s important that we are onsite on the Microsoft Redmond campus regularly. To help us support that we are  part of the on campus Microsoft Partner Solutions Center (MPSC).  The MPSC is a facility that showcases some of Microsoft’s partners and their  solutions for business and demonstration purposes. Having been there for almost a year now, we can confirm it’s a great facility with tremendous value to the Microsoft partner ecosystem. We also noticed that RES Software have recently joined the MPSC. The addition of RES Software to the MPSC confirms the importance and relevancy of the user virtualization market that we pioneered which is growing significantly and presenting an exciting challenge to our product leadership.

Demonstration systems on the Microsoft campus are especially important to be able to showcase your product and how it works. I personally developed an integrated Citrix, Microsoft and AppSense demo on the Microsoft campus in Redmond many months ago. It includes Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1,Hyper-V, Windows 7 Enterprise SP1, App-V packaged applications and streamed applications such as Office 2010 all running on top of Citrix XenDesktop 5 and XenApp 6. Overlaid on top of that is AppSense User Virtualization which seamlessly manages the user as they create settings and move in real-time from their XenDesktop managed Windows 7 to a XenApp 6 session. This is available on Microsoft’s corporate network which any Microsoft employee can logon to using their domain credentials making it a very good demo for them to use with existing or potential customers.

We plan to take this demo further forward and place it on the Internet for our partners to also use and see the power of AppSense User Virtualization really delivering value in a variety of Citrix and Microsoft technology scenarios. Watch this space for more on that!

If you have any questions about User Virtualization at the MPSC or would be interested in getting a demo from one of our team in your local area, drop me a line.

Michael Kleef

AppSense Management Center 8.2 – Released to Market!

August 18, 2011

Following the recent AppSense Application Manager and AppSense Environment Manager software releases, we are pleased to say the AppSense development engine continues full steam ahead, today with the release of AppSense Management Center 8.2.

The AppSense Management Center is the framework that enables AppSense Management Suite to scale rapidly throughout the enterprise; it provides IT with the ability to control all aspects of the user from a central location, deploying and managing tailored policy and user personalization settings to hundreds of thousands of physical and virtual desktops across many sites.

AppSense Management Center 8.2 brings greater control with enhancements to existing functionality and also through the addition of customer demanded new features and capabilities. All information contained in this blog update assumes prior knowledge of AppSense Management Center 8.1.

Key Themes of this release:

  • Resource efficiency through polling enhancements
  • Greater flexibility & agility
  • Ease of use and simplified experience

New Features include:

  • Client Communication Agent Poll Now
  • Variable Poll Periods
  • Configuration Installation Schedule
  • Package Naming Enhancements
  • User Interface Refresh

Thanks to the User Virtualization community for feeding into this product, and thank you to the Dev team for making it a reality!

Further information can be found at:

What’s new in AppSense Management Center 8.2 webpage – here

What’s new in AppSense Management Center PDF – here

Business Analysis Profile: A review of AppSense as a company – leadership statistics and growth plans…

August 12, 2011

Alistair Houghton has written an interesting article about AppSense, “a ray of light bursting through the dark economic stormclouds”.

He details annual revenues in excess of $70m, Goldman Sachs investment, $2.4bn market opportunity, customers, partnerships, Charles Sharland the Entrepreneur, head count, office locations, recent recruitment, and expansion.

You can read the article in full here – Tech firm AppSense looks to growth