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Microsoft to offer sales support and collaborate on technology

According to the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft has entered into a partnership with Novell Inc. to offer sales support and technology sharing for Novell's Suse Linux product.

While the deal has yet to be finalized, it represents a surprising new alliance between two warring sides in the operating system world. CEO Steve Ballmer made the announcement at a San Francisco news conference that Linux plays an "important role" in many companies, including Microsoft itself. "We see huge potential upside in these markets."

Novell's Suse Linux is currently the second largest commercial Linux distribution, with first place going to Red Hat. As a result of the announcement, shares in Novell jumped 16% to $6.79.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but one of the high points is the expected construction of a joint research facility where the two companies can design and test their software together. Improvements in compatibility between Microsoft Office and OpenOffice are also expected.

Speculation about the long-term outcome of this union has begun already. Frank Artale, vice-president of XenSource, noted that Microsoft's embracing of Suse Linux as opposed to another particular variant could cause a "halo effect" in that the association between the two could make users choose it over another distribution. The open-source community also may have reservations about using a distribution that is "sleeping with the enemy."

As another part of the deal, Microsoft agreed not to file patent infringement charges against Suse users, and Novell has agreed not to sue users of Windows.

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for those who care
By johnsonx on 11/2/2006 10:21:04 PM , Rating: 2
Here's Novell's press release on the matter:

RE: for those who care
By johnsonx on 11/2/2006 10:23:22 PM , Rating: 4
and, here is the e-mail everyone on Novell's mailing list got today (I presume Ron Hovsepian won't mind this being posted; I don't know why he or Novell would have a problem with it):
================================================= ==========

Today, Microsoft and Novell announced an historic new initiative. Important because it means a lot to you as our partner.

Let me begin by quickly outlining what we just announced. Microsoft and Novell, starting today, have agreed to build and market solutions so that Novell's technology works on Microsoft's and vice versa. Specifically, customers will now be able to run virtualized SUSE Linux Enterprise on Windows or Windows on SUSE Linux Enterprise. This landmark agreement also calls for both Microsoft and Novell to provide patent coverage to each others' customers for our respective products. Why is that important? It's important because our customers shouldn't have to worry about legal matters when it comes to which operating system they use. They also shouldn't have to worry about barriers such as intellectual property agreements, who owns which patent portfolio, and indemnification. None of those issues move their business forward. Now many of those barriers have been removed.

I am also proud to tell you that earlier today Novell and Microsoft demonstrated, by our words and actions, that we can work together for the mutual benefit of our customers. Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's CEO, was very passionate and genuine in his support for this agreement. He spoke about how it will help customers leverage both the Microsoft Windows platform as well as our SUSE Linux Enterprise platform. He said this combined solution will give customers choice and flexibility in building their technology environment. As we all know, choice and flexibility are both something our partners often complain are in short supply. We're determined to change that.

I'd like to also build on what Steve said, and today I had the opportunity to make some of these points in person to the assembled press, analyst, and industry experts. This agreement between us and Microsoft is a key cornerstone to our overall Novell promise to deliver the open enterprise to our customers, working in conjunction with you. It's an agreement where we can leverage a mixed environment- with open source and open standards based software- on our customers behalf. It's an agreement that will accelerate Novell's stated goal of helping our customers reduct cost, manage complexity and mitigate risk. Together, we are both in a better position to help customers achieve this.

I titled this a “landmark” announcement, and I truly believe it is. Transformational in its scope and important to us, our customers and our partners on many levels. You may wonder how this changes our relationship with Microsoft. It's no secret we've competed with them in the past. And we still will. However, it's also important for us all to remind ourselves that all organizations, particularly those in our industry, need to adapt and change. Further, for whatever differences we've had with Microsoft over the years, we also share a number of the same values. A strong belief in building solutions for our customers and an unwavering belief in the power of technology and innovation.

This is the beginning of a new and exciting chapter for Novell. It's also a new and exciting opportunity for us together. Working together we can do a better job for the customers we serve. I'm truly excited about this transformational announcement. The payoff will be better results where it counts most. On helping us deliver innovative solutions so our customers can grow and innovate. We look forward to working together.

Best regards,

Ron Hovsepian
CEO, Novell

RE: for those who care
By peternelson on 11/2/2006 11:22:53 PM , Rating: 2
Well, it's great that MS will virtualise on Suse Enterprise, and Suse enterprise will virtualise on MS.

Not sure which hypervisor (or both) they will be using ie Xen or microsoft's own?

Anyway I would welcome if this interoperability also worked for non-enterprise versions of suse linux. ie the opensuse and novell desktop distros ought to support such virtualisation in an ideal world.

Also in terms of the microsoft OS discussed here, does it refer to XP, 2003, Vista, ultimate edition, home.... etc. The news does not state this explicitly.

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