Microsoft extends SUSE Linux partnership

Microsoft will purchase $100 million worth of SUSE Linux, and extend the working partnership with Attachmate

Extending a partnership established in 2006, Microsoft has renewed a working agreement to resell SUSE Linux and help develop new Windows interoperability tools for the OS, Microsoft announced Monday.

As part of the four-year extension to the deal, Microsoft will purchase and resell $US100 million worth of SUSE licenses.

"It's a natural progression of the relationship," said Frank Rego, Attachmate SUSE senior product manager of global business development. "We'll do the same thing we've been doing for the last five years, jointly addressing issues around Linux, Windows interoperability."

In 2006, Microsoft reached a deal with Novell, which then managed SUSE. In the deal to offer sales support for the Linux-based operating system, and co-develop technologies for the OS.

With this partnership, the two companies wanted to better service those enterprise organizations that ran both Windows and Linux.

As part of that deal, Microsoft agreed to purchase and resell $240 million of SUSE licenses. Microsoft subsequently sold $156 million of these licenses and followed-up the deal with another agreement in 2008 to resell another $100 million worth.

Thus far, the partnership has served 725 customers, including enterprise users in fields of manufacturing, oil, health care and finance. It has also helped manufacturers such as Dell more easily package SUSE-based systems.

This new deal is different only in that the partnership will focus exclusively on Windows interoperability with SUSE Linux, whereas the previous partnership also focused on interoperability with non-SUSE Novell software. "We're focused solely on the Linux piece," Rego said.

Some of the future research work may entail getting Microsoft System Center and SUSE Manager to work in closer harmony, particularly in regards to cloud deployments, Rego said.

"We've had a particularly good working relationship with Microsoft on the technical side. We were working engineer to engineer with them, and that was really successful," Rego said.

In April, the Attachmate Group purchased Novell for $2.2 billion. Attachmate subsequently set up the SUSE-related operations as a stand-alone business unit within the company.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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