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Microsoft invests US$100 million more in Novell

John Fontana | Aug. 21, 2008
The two vendors claim the US$100 million investment is needed to meet customer demand to integrate Linux and Windows.

FRAMINGHAM, 20 AUGUST 2008 - Microsoft Wednesday (20 August) said it would spend another US$100 million to purchase certificates it will distribute to users who can cash them in for support on their Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Servers.

The investment, which will come on Nov. 1, is on top of the $240 million Microsoft agreed in 2006 to spend on certificates as part of a five-year business and technology deal with Novell that also included intellectual property rights protection.

In addition, Microsoft will provide materials such as best practices, tips and tricks, and online training to help users migrate from non-Novell platforms to Novell's Linux operating system.

Microsoft also will offer migration assistance, including some help that will carry a fee.

The two vendors claim the $100 million investment is needed to meet customer demand to integrate Linux and Windows. However, Novell has only invoiced $156 million of Microsoft's original $240 million certificate purchase, leaving 35% of the funds still unused.

The original deal, which raised the ire of the open source community, covered the distribution of 70,000 certificates for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server maintenance and support.

"As we look quarter by quarter to number of customers grow and our expectation is we are on track to deliver on the original commitment, and we feel good about the incremental investment we added," said Susan Hauser, general manager of strategic partnerships and licensing at Microsoft.

In November 2006, Microsoft and Novell unveiled a partnership designed to make it easier for companies to run, integrate and manage Linux and Windows in their environments while steering clear of patent and intellectual property concerns.

An agreement by Microsoft not to assert patent and intellectual property rights runs through 2012.

On the technology side, the agreement focused on virtualization, Web services for managing physical and virtual servers, and the integration of document formats specifically in Microsoft's Office and Novell's OpenOffice.

In March 2007, Novell released a translator that lets users open and save Microsoft's OpenXML files in versions of the word processing program.

In terms of interoperability, the two opened a Windows/Linux interoperability lab in September 2007 with a focus on three projects involving virtualization, management and identity federation.


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