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02.12.07

When Companies Eat Microsoft Bait, It Means Trouble

Posted in Apple, Bill Gates, Deals, Deception, FUD, Intellectual Monopoly, Interoperability, Microsoft, Patent Covenant, Patents, Samba, SUN at 8:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell could be the next Corel. Don’t believe this ambitious statement? Then have a look.

October 3rd, 2000:

Corel Sells Out To Microsoft

It isn’t quite as strange as Microsoft ‘s investment in Apple Computer several years ago, but it ranks right up there.

Here’s a glimpse at the Apple deal.

This deal with Corel may also be similar to Microsoft’s deal with Sun Microsystems. It’s a purely strategic one, where the strategy does not necessarily benefit the customers, let alone the developers.

While in Microsoft’s pockets, it is neither a coincidence nor a surprise that only Novell and Corel accepted Microsoft’s coin-in-the-slot standard. It’s a sockpuppet-style voice of approval. It was bought.

But let us return to the article.

…The companies said that Corel would develop and market applications for Microsoft’s sprawling .Net initiative, which is based on Windows technologies.

While the investment is paltry by Microsoft standards, the implications are huge. For starters, what becomes of Corel’s Linux plans? Corel has poured considerable resources into its Corel Linux operating system and porting its business and graphics applications to Linux. The company has positioned its Linux efforts as the linchpin of its comeback strategy, but there was no mention of Linux on the conference call Monday.

[...]

Microsoft and Corel have been fierce competitors since the latter bought the WordPerfect Office suite of applications from Novell in 1997.

Also worth reading is the interview with Corel’s Linux VP on the deal with Microsoft. Given Corel’s position at present, Novell has plenty of reasons to worry. Let us return to the recent interview which explains why Microsoft was willing to pay Novell so much money.

LinuxWorld: One of the persistent rumors that’s going around is that certain large IT customers have already been paying Microsoft for patent licensing to cover their use of Linux, Samba and other free software projects. And the Novell deal — isn’t it just taking that and doing the same kind of thing wholesale?

Allison: Yes, that’s true, actually. I mean I have had people come up to me and essentially off the record admit that they had been threatened by Microsoft and had got patent cross license and had essentially taken out a license for Microsoft patents on the free software that they were using, which they then cannot redistribute. I think that would be the restriction. I would have to look quite carefully. So, essentially that’s not allowed. But they’re not telling anyone about it. They’re completely doing it off the record.

The problem with the Novell deal is — Novell gave Microsoft what Microsoft dearly wanted, which is a public admission that they think that Linux violates the Microsoft patent.

[...]

LinuxWorld: Watching Novell management being subjected to this was like watching a child eating a bug for money. It’s embarrassing.

Allison: It is humiliating. I was horrified to say. It was humiliating. Yes. It really is like, “Go on. Eat a bug. Go on. Go on. Here’s some money. Eat a bug.” Yes, sad but true.

This analogy is a wonderful one, especially if you happen have watched Fear Factor. Novell made a decision which it knew was a bad one. Short-term financial gains were enough to alleviate the fear and it left the audience (Microsoft in this case) highly entertained.

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2 Comments

  1. Name said,

    February 12, 2007 at 6:04 pm

    Gravatar

    Below quoted from:
    http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=208360&cid=16989666

    “Did Microsoft hold secret talks with Novell prior to any public announcement to any agreement?

    If so, I would hope openSUSE developers would be more concerned about this, rather than a clearly *open* offer from Shuttleworth. I used SUSE for several years prior to Novell coming into the SUSE picture, before I switched to Ubuntu Linux.

    I said it before and I’ll say it again, I think Mr. Shuttleworth is brilliant.

    Look, if Microsoft wanted to bring Windows and Linux together, why didn’t they do it when they partnered with Corel around six years ago? (if, indeed, it was a partnership, correct me if I’m wrong please) Does anyone remember Corel Linux? It, like Ubuntu, was a Debian based Linux distribution, with an easy to use graphical installer! And this was around six years ago! (There was even a Corel Linux for Dummies book, check Amazon dot com and see for yourself) Anyone who wants to gain an enlightened perspective can google about Corel Linux and Microsoft and inform themselves. Here are a few important articles:

    “Corel Sells Out To Microsoft”
    http://www.forbes.com/2000/10/03/1003corel.html

    “Interview: Corel’s Linux VP on the Microsoft deal”
    http://archives.cnn.com/2000/TECH/computing/10/16/corel.linux.on.ms.idg/index.html

    “Microsoft Faces New Antitrust Probe Over Corel Deal”
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&contentId=A5576-2001Feb14&notFound=true

    “Government lawyers want to know more about a deal in which Microsoft gave Corel, perhaps best known for its WordPerfect program, $135 million in exchange for 24 million shares of Corel stock last October.” “After the investment, Corel announced it would retreat from developing software designed to run on the Linux operating system, which competes with Microsoft’s Windows operating system.” – quotes source http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&contentId=A5576-2001Feb14&notFound=true

    “Microsoft Litigation” List – Educate yourself
    http://www.groklaw.net/staticpages/index.php?page=2005010107100653

    I ask you: Who do YOU trust?

    Do you want open meetings and discussions? Isn’t that what an open source community thrives on? Or do you want secret meetings?

    For those of you who would rather crack chair throwing or developer jokes and ignore the issue, read for yourself in an interview with Bill Gates dated 11/17/2006 where he mentions Novell, indemnification, and the word pioneering all in the same reponse to a question:

    “Gates on Vista, Linux and more”
    http://news.com.com/Gates+on+Vista%2C+Linux+and+more+-+page+3/2008-1012_3-6136350-3.html?tag=st.num

    History repeats itself, and I believe, in my opinion, we’re seeing it happen right now. IMO the Corel/Microsoft events in history should not be ignored. In fact, I suggest they be looked at again closely and compared to the present Novell/Microsoft events for educational purposes. :) Google for yourself and see, there are a lot of juicy articles out there on this. And yes, I know about Xandros, my point is about where Corel Linux was headed.”

    Also worth reading:

    “The Land of “Nothing for free”” by Jeremy Allison
    http://samba.org/samba/news/articles/low_point/column11.html

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 13, 2007 at 1:01 am

    Gravatar

    Do you want open meetings and discussions? Isn’t that what an open source community thrives on? Or do you want secret meetings?

    Absolutely. Transparency in decision-making is a must, especially when people whose work you reply on are volunteers (e.g. GNU utilities), not employees. It is a matter of common courtesy.

    Novell bargained over something they do not own (inhereited owing to the terms of the GPL, where the GPL spirit was broken).

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