Novell: But, it is much cheaper
Recently, Steve Ballmer confirmed the real meaning of the Microvell deal, and in doing so he reiterated Microsoft’s mantra that " open source isn’t free" – a new slogan for the anti-Linux and Free Software FUD campaign that our friends at Novell are helping them to perpetrate, again.
So, these days, it’s more interesting when Novell makes a public statement or assertion that seems to contradict their benefactors. Novell is claiming that they are realizing millions of dollars in savings from their own internal transition from proprietary software such as Microsoft Windows to Open Source solutions.
The change to open source, Anderson said, was part politics but also had a real return on investment for Novell. "We see real benefit to our bottom line. We’ve had $900,000 in expense reductions per year versus our prior desktop operating system and office applications. The number is very conservative and it’s just the desktop side of things."
Anderson explained that when the transition started in 2004, Novell was running mostly Windows and now has moved to Open Office for its desktop productivity suite. Although the mandate was to switch over inside of three months, in practice, the IT group migrated their own desktops inside of one week.
"We terminated our agreements with Microsoft and that was a substantial part of the savings." By 2005, some 54 percent of Novell’s desktop users were running Linux, she added. "We had to understand how to enable existing business applications to run on the Linux desktop," Anderson said. "We’ve got that nailed now so that’s no longer an impediment."
And, don’t forget, they’re saving even more by outsourcing their direct sales.
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Red Hat and Microsoft seem like a new couple which gets some media attention. As disturbing as this may sound, at least to some of you, it seems likely that Red Hat will have an interoperability deal with Microsoft. Such a deal would most likely exclude patents, but there are many implications to consider. What would Microsoft’s stance be? How would Novell’s case be used throughout negotiation? Would it become a bargaining chip? Of course, it’s a case of hypothetical pondering.
In any event, all we have are rumours, speculations, and the bullish words from Microsoft. Red Hat declined to comment while Mary Jo Foley reports that we ought to keep our hopes (or worries) down. Red Hat does not seem gulliable. In fact, Red Hat was among the loudest protesters among the vocal opposition to Novell. But have a look at this bizarre article:
“We are vendors in the same marketplace. We have made it clear that we would love to have a deal similar to the Novell deal in multiple respects. Microsoft would very much like to do a deal with Red Hat.”
Microsoft indicated that it sees the Novell deal as a model for a potential Red Hat partnership.
There is another piece of coverage here, but I suppose that both precede Red Hat’s response, which debunks many of the ambitious arguments made by Microsoft. Their wishful thinking that’s uttered aloud may be a way of confusing Red Hat and its customers. It could be a a game of reverse psychology.
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It is becoming clear that, with or without more deals, Microsoft will use its deal with Novell as backing for IP threats and extortion. Red Hat is aware of this and it continues to show nothing but apathy.
Microsoft and Red Hat both have acknowledged that Microsoft has tried to get Red Hat to sign an all-encompassing technology/marketing/patent deal. But Red Hat execs have been quite plain in their disinterest in a Novell-type partnership — while, at the same time, telling customers to go ahead and take Microsoft’s Linux voucher money.
I understand why Microsoft would like to get another open-source vendor or two to sign a Novell-type deal. After all, there’s nothing like the smell of FUD to get customers ready to buy Linux to reconsider the wisdom of their decision. But I am doubtful Red Hat will be the one to cave.
Our little site poll — however biased it may be due to inclinations of the reader — indicates that the large majority wishes to see no more deals like that which Novell made.
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