Two years on, Microsoft and Novell extend partnership

Microsoft said Wednesday it would purchase a further $100 million in coupons for Suse Linux support from Novell, furthering a controversial 2006 partnership.

The SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop (SLED) 10

The SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop (SLED) 10

Microsoft said Wednesday it would purchase up to $100 million in coupons for Suse Linux support from Novell, furthering a controversial 2006 partnership aimed at customers who run both Windows and Linux in their server environments.

Further investments will also be made to enhance the tools, support and training that Novell offers customers to provide better interoperability between Windows Server and Suse Linux Enterprise Server, the companies said.

The companies called it an "incremental investment" that builds on the interoperability pact they announced in November 2006. As part of the original deal, Microsoft purchased US$240 million in Novell coupons to sell to its customers. Within 18 months of the deal about US$157 million of the coupons had been redeemed, the companies said.

The alliance between the companies was an unusual and unexpected one that brought together a fierce opponent of open source with one of its leading advocates. The companies said at the time they were making the pact for the good of their customers, but observers also saw other motives.

For Microsoft, the deal was a recognition of the significant role that Linux plays in enterprises, but also provided a way to show the European Commission, which was hounding it at the time about anticompetitive practices, that it was open to working with the open-source community.

For Novell, the deal gave it an advantage over open-source leader Red Hat at a time when Novell was struggling financially. It allowed it to offer customers the advantage of better interoperability with Windows. Customers that have taken advantage of the deal include Wal-Mart, HSBC, Renault, Southwest Airlines and BMW.

Microsoft and Novell have a joint laboratory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which is dedicated to researching interoperability issues associated with virtualization, identity federation and systems management, among others.

Part of Novell's deal with Microsoft also provided customers using Suse Linux indemnity against intellectual property claims by Microsoft. That assurance raised the possibility that Microsoft would launch lawsuits against Linux vendors who refused to make similar agreements, as well as against their customers. The fears were fueled by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's claims shortly after the deal was announced that Linux "uses our intellectual property."

Those comments and the agreement with Microsoft angered some of the open-source programmers who helped to develop Novell's software. The deal was seen as a tacit agreement from Novell that Microsoft holds patents on Linux, although Novell strongly refuted those claims.

(James Niccolai in London contributed to this report.)

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags microsoft novell interoperability

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?