Novell on the Microsoft Deal: Customers Want Interoperability

Lora Bentley

Shortly after our recent interview with intellectual property attorney Antoinette Tease on the Microsoft-Novell partnership and GPL v3 was published, Novell representatives contacted IT Business Edge to offer Novell's perspective on the whole thing. Earlier this week, we talked to marketing director Justin Steinman.


Steinman's main point was predictable and makes perfect sense: The agreement with Microsoft came about because customers were asking for interoperability with Windows. Isn't that that what business is about, after all? Seeing a need and striving to meet it? And apparently, it's already paying dividends. Novell has a new deal with Wal-Mart, which may never have happened had the company's Linux distribution not received a Microsoft endorsement.


The patent provision that's raised so many hackles in the broader open source community is nothing more than a covenant not to sue, he says. Novell "strongly maintains" that SuSE Linux Enterprise does not violate Microsoft patent rights, but customers weren't sure. They wanted peace of mind that they could deploy SuSE Linux Enterprise and then go about their business without worrying whether Microsoft might sue them.


As for the GNU General Public License v3, which is currently in process, Steinman says it's too early to say how the new open source license might affect the partnership. However, Novell is committed to helping write a GPL that will allow the partnership to continue.


Check out the whole interview here.

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Mar 16, 2007 8:15 AM Roy Schestowitz Roy Schestowitz  says:
Laura, Steinman pulled some figures out of nowhere. 80-85% probably do /not/ like this deal. Studies on this were already harshly criticised and ridiculed. Also don't miss the following story:Microsoft/Novell patent deal -- a customer doesn't speak,----[ Quote ]| I asked Matthew O'Neill, group head of distributed systems for HSBC| global IT operations, whether he was ever worried about either Microsoft| or Novell suing it for using the other company's products.| | Before O'Neill could answer, however, Susan Hauser, general manager| of strategic partnerships and licensing at Microsoft, chipped in to| answer for him, giving the stock answer that the companies? customers| had concerns about intellectual property and wanted peace of mind.| | Well here I was asking the companies' customer to explain his concerns | about intellectual property and he wasn't being given a chance to| speak. Eventually he did make his feelings known, but it would seem| HSBC isn't as concerned about IP infringement as Microsoft.---- is getting paid from this. And I expect it's the execs at Novell. Reply

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