GoToMyPC belatedly adds Mac capabilities

Company touts speed and ease of use; iPhone remote access missing

The Citrix Online subsidiary of Citrix Systems Inc. has upgraded its market-leading GoToMyPC remote access software, which now allows users to connect from or to their Macs over a distant network.

Late with Mac compatibility compared to rivals, the nine-year-old GoToMyPC won't bring over all of its Windows features to the Mac. Glaringly, it also doesn't let iPhone users to connect to their Macs.

Citrix says, however, that the Mac-enabled GoToMyPC will maintain the app's reputation for ease of use, speed and imperviousness to crashes.

Features for Mac users include:

* Cross-platform compatibility, i.e. local PC to remote Mac, and vice-versa

* Support for multiple monitors

* Ability to cut and paste from remote windows to local ones, and vice-versa

* 128-bit encryption

* Access through Mac firewalls

* Remote connectivity via Windows Mobile smartphones.

Michelle Knab, senior product manager at GoToMyPC, said Citrix is "looking into" adding iPhone connectivity, something that Cisco Systems Inc. division WebEx's PCNow app already offers.

Citrix is also considering allowing users to drag and drop files from remote to local windows, and vice-versa, she said.

Mac compatibility will be available for all three versions of GoToMyPC: the personal version, which starts at $19.95 per month for one computer (and gets cheaper as users add more computers); the Pro version, which costs $12.95/month for between two and 20 computers and $10.50/month for 21 to 50 computers; and a Corporate version with more admin and reporting features with volume-based pricing that the company declined to disclose.

Late to market, but may not matter

Besides PCNow, there is no shortage of remote access apps already offering Mac connectivity.

The free version of rival LogMeIn offers remote access to Macs from either PC or Mac, while Symantec Corp.'s longtime pcAnywhere offers remote access to Windows, Mac, Linux and Pocket PC-based computers.

There are also Mac-to-Mac apps such as Apple Remote Desktop and even Mac OS X's built-in Screen Sharing.

The plethora of Mac-enabled rivals apparently hasn't hurt GoToMyPC in the marketplace, though. According to IDC Corp., GoToMyPC held 77% of the $148.4 million global remote access services software market in 2008, far ahead of second-place LogMeIn with 18.3%.

Despite numerous cheaper vendors nipping at its heels, GoToMyPC has "maintained a dominant leadership position," IDC analyst Sean Ryan wrote in a December report. "Its customers value the capabilities, reliability and ease-of-use and are willing to pay a premium for these benefits."

IDC predicts the market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 19.5% until 2013, when it will be worth $361 million worldwide. Corporate "day extenders" needing access to their work PC from home is driving demand the most, followed by part-time teleworkers and business travelers.

Symantec's pcAnywhere, which has been around since 1985, is used mostly by IT administrators for remote troubleshooting. As such, IDC tracks it in a different category: the clientless remote support software market.

Eric Lai covers Windows and Linux, desktop applications, databases and business intelligence for Computerworld. Follow Eric on Twitter at @ericylai, send e-mail to elai@computerworld.com or subscribe to Eric's RSS feed.

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