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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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Microsoft patents
By ioannis on 11/3/2006 6:32:43 AM , Rating: 2
There is an interesting point made here:

I'm quoting T Patterson (second post):
"After the Q&A segment it was clear that the patent agreement was a defacto acknowledgement by Novell that Linux violates MS patents. Ballmer made it clear that the patent agreement protects ONLY users of SuSE Linux. When questioned about wether the patent agreement covered technology which will be developed or if it covers MS patents already existing in Linux the attorney made it clear that the agreement protects existing Linux in the form of SuSE. So MS has found the big Linux vendor foolish enough to "legitimize" a patent claim on Linux by Microsoft. This makes it easier for MS to claim that Linux infringes their "IP" and claim that Novell recognized this "fact" and struck a deal. Now it's only a matter of asserting claims against all distributors except Novell thereby thinning the herd and finally, deal with Novell SuSE last. Nice going you Novell morons. After using SuSE for years it looks like it's time for a change. "

RE: Microsoft patents
By shamgar03 on 11/3/2006 6:39:40 AM , Rating: 2
THAT could suck....but at the same time don't you think this could be a big step for linux? Once people realize that linux is usable, they may be more willing to move to the free alternatives. I am always happy when suse does stuff that pulls peoples head out of the microsoft sand.

RE: Microsoft patents
By stmok on 11/3/2006 6:45:08 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah...This may all be some big elborate plan.
I'm still a bit weary and skeptical. (Its Microsoft remember).

RE: Microsoft patents
By johnsonx on 11/3/2006 11:06:28 AM , Rating: 2
You may be reading too much into that. First, Novell has a LONG history of going up against Microsoft: they're not about to start cowering in front of Microsoft's lawyers. Second, let us not forget that Novell itself (even before the Suse aquisition) claims to own quite a few of the Linux patents that SCO has claimed for themselves, which stems from Novell's spinoff and sale way back when of their first Linux/Unix products (anyone remember UnixWare in a red Novell box? I do). So this patent agreement may be as much an acknowledgement of Novell's substantial UNIX/Linux patent portfolio as it is any admission of infringement by Linux of Microsoft patents. Microsoft products and Linux products travel in the same circles, so there is bound to be some IP bleed between the too whether it be intentional or not. Novell and Microsoft have simply agreed not to get bogged down in endless lawsuits over minor IP issues.

RE: Microsoft patents
By johnsonx on 11/3/2006 11:14:37 AM , Rating: 2
Damn, I committed what I consider to be one of the 7 deadly spelling sins: I wrote 'two' as 'too'! Curse you lack of edit function!

Also, I do get so tired of seeing the 'Oops something went wrong, click to return to website' message everytime I take more than 30 seconds to type a message. I then have to go back, hope my message is still in the window, highlight it and copy it to the clipboard, go back to the news article, find the comment I wanted to reply to, paste my message back in and finally post. Are you guys EVER going to fix that?

RE: Microsoft patents
By Nekrik on 11/3/2006 2:22:17 PM , Rating: 2
Isn't it an issue of when there is a new post made between the time you first open the thread's page and the time you try to post your comment? I usually just hit F5 right before hitting the 'reply' or 'post comment' link.

RE: Microsoft patents
By johnsonx on 11/4/2006 6:01:56 AM , Rating: 2
Oh, is that what causes it? I thought it had to do with a new message being posted while I was typing mine. Either way, they really ought to find a way to fix it.

"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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