Microsoft's Hilf: It's an IP Deal

Lora Bentley

Recent collaboration agreements between Microsoft and Novell have created waves for months now.

Novell said the agreements have nothing to do with threatened IP infringement litigation. An off-the-cuff comment from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer indicated otherwise. Novell reiterated its position, via a letter from CEO Ron Hovesepian, and stated that the two "agreed to disagree" on the IP issues.

Now, in case anyone is still unclear how Microsoft sees the whole thing, platform strategy manager Bill Hilf says simply, "This is an intellectual property deal."

In a Q&A published on yesterday, he explained that Microsoft knew there would/will be "overlap" between the company's IP and open source, and that the deal with Novell establishes a framework for how to resolve those issues but still work with open source and meet the requirements of the GNU General Public License.

Hilf denied that the deal was a threat to non-Novell Linux users, and when asked whether folks in Redmond would be pursuing deals with other open source vendors, said only that Microsoft's door is open to anyone.

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