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Citrix acquires ShareFile for cloud-based file management

The company wants a piece of the personal cloud sector

Citrix Systems has acquired ShareFile for an undisclosed sum, in an effort to break into the cloud-based data sharing market, the company said on Thursday.

The fact that many users now have a multitude of different devices puts new demands on how data is stored and shared, giving rise to the personal cloud, according to Citrix. It has acquired ShareFile because it has high hopes for this burgeoning sector, which Citrix expects will be "a multi-billion dollar opportunity by 2015."

This is becoming an increasingly crowded space with services from the likes of Dropbox and Apple's iCloud.

ShareFile is pitching its service -- which bears the same name as the company -- as a faster and more secure alternative to FTP for small and medium-sized businesses. The service allows enterprises to upload files to its centralized cloud storage, which can then be accessed by anyone who has the right credentials using a PC, smartphone or tablet.

ShareFile offers its service at four standard price plans: Basic, Professional, Enterprise and Enterprise Gold. They differ in the number of allowed employee accounts, monthly data transfer volume, storage volume and functionality that is included. For example, the Professional plan costs US$59.95 per month and includes 10 employee accounts, 10GB of transferred data and 10GB of storage. They all include unlimited accounts for clients and partners.

Jesse Lipson, ShareFile's CEO, will become vice president and general manager of Citrix's newly formed data sharing product group. This group will be responsible for the ShareFile product line, as well as Citrix's "follow-me-data" strategy, which aims to allow business users to access their content from anywhere, share it across multiple devices and collaborate with colleagues, according to Citrix.

The company will reveal more of its plans for ShareFile and the follow-me-data strategy at the European edition of Citrix's Synergy conference, which takes place in Barcelona from Oct. 26-28.

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