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Citrix falls on Microsoft worries

Citrix Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CTXS) fell for a second day Thursday, dropping 20 percent on concerns that Microsoft's break-up could signal tougher competition, and the absence of its CFO from an investor conference.

Shares were down 10 3/4 to 40 13/16 Friday, well off their 52-week high of 122 5/16.

Bloomberg reported that investors became concerned yesterday about how a less-powerful Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) would affect the company, since it adapts Microsoft's software for networks, and about the Citrix CFO's failure to show up for an investor speech.

At Thursday's Painewebber conference, Citrix announced the CFO was absent for "personal reasons," and Chris Phoenix, the company's Vice President and General Manager gave a speech in his stead. The presentation was unevental and didn't contain anything that would worry Wall Street.

"It has more to do with the Microsoft concern," said Mark Perutz of Robertson Stephens. "It's overblown, the stock is down 20 percent over the past couple of days."

Perutz said the belief that Microsoft would put more energy into developing its Windows terminal server, a product that competes with Citrix's metaframe technology, is unfounded. Robertson Stephens maintains a "buy" rating on the stock.

In his presentation, Phoenix also noted that Citrix's relationship with Microsoft was strong. He also added that Citrix would benefit once Windows 2000 sales ramped up. Phoenix noted that "these things take time" and the company wasn't seeing a Windows 2000 sales pop.