Enterprise Linux Log

Nov 9 2007   10:12AM GMT

Does anyone care about the MS-Novell agreement besides, well, MS and Novell?


Over at InternetNews.com, Sean Michael Kerner picked the brains of several analysts to see which of them saw any effects, positive or negative, from the year-old partnership between Microsoft and Novell.

If you’ll remember, in November 2006 the two companies entered into a controversial partnership that — in theory — would allow interoperability between Windows and SUSE Linux as well as a patent covenant. The covenant ensured that Microsoft would not sue Novell’s SUSE Enterprise Linux Server users over alleged intellectual property infringement by open source applications.

Suffice to say, the analysts were mixed on whether or not the partnership was anything more that a temporary revenue boost for Novell (Novell noted that as of the end of the third quarter of its fiscal year, it had invoiced more than $105 million in SUSE Linux Enterprise certificates through business collaboration with Microsoft).

Our good friend Charles King, founder of Pund-IT, saw some glimmer of hope for Novell, but as one of two pro-Novell analysts (and I use that label very lightly in this case), even he wasn’t so sure. In fact, OS business gains are still very hazy for Novell, and King could only point to the firm’s 50% revenue gains in the Open Platform Group.

“This can’t be traced directly to the company’s deal with Microsoft, but the agreement may have had an impact,” King told InternetNews.com. “The financial effects for Microsoft appear negligible (or so company CEO Steve Ballmer has said), but the Novell deal arguably paved the way for the company to pursue other agreements with open source players.” (InternetNews.com)

Other analysts, including SearchEnterpriseLinux.com regular Gordon Haff, of Illuminata Inc., couldn’t identify any gains for Novell (or losses for Red Hat) that tied in directly with the Microsoft partnership.

Two corporations fire off a mean press release with 30 new customers and the opening of an interoperability lab — where’s the beef?

I realize it’s only one year in, but I think it would behoove Microsoft and Novell to flesh out what it is they mean when they talk about “interoperability frameworks” and the like. Revenue numbers from Novell for its OS business wouldn’t hurt, either.

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