The $348 Million Cash Infusion That Won’t Last Forever

Posted in Finance, Marketing, Microsoft, Novell at 8:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A financial Web site that shills for Microsoft (there’s affiliation and proven track record) has just published its take on NOVL.

What [Novell] management says:

Isn’t it sweet to enlist the competition to help sell your own products? Novell’s Linux segment boosted sales by 114% over last year, according to the latest quarterly report, and it was “largely due to the strength of the Microsoft agreement,” according to Chief Financial Officer Dana Russell.

What [Novell] management does:

Don’t get too excited by the cash flow jump in January — that was $348 million of up-front payments from Microsoft making its way onto the cash flow statement in a one-time deal. Excluding that windfall, free cash flow has been negative in each of the last two quarters.

Novell’s bank balance is now Microsoft dependent. It didn’t have to be like this, but that’s the route which Novell has chosen. Depending on a fierce rival is never a good strategy.

Remember what Jeremy Allison had to say about the $348 million paid by Microsoft. It’s like being paid to chew an insect. Novell is not the only company to have been paid (bribed) in this way.

Novell Lost Its Australia-New Zealand Vice President

Posted in Australia, Novell at 6:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It was only yesterday that we wrote about “a lot of SUSE developers” leaving because of the Novell/Microsoft deal. This information came from an analyst. Here is some information about a new departure from Novell, which went unannounced.

Christie, who became Novell’s Australia-New Zealand vice president after heading the vendor locally, left earlier this year and was replaced in the role by Rob Mills. Christie is the second ex-Novell GM to join Zintel — Peter Revell, who headed Novell in New Zealand from 1997 until 2003, became Zintel’s chief executive in October last year.

Other recent (and notable) departures affecting the highest level:

It would be reasonable to assume that many departures are overlooked. There are not only managers who leave, but also top developers. How long can Novell deny this for?

Why Microsoft’s and Novell’s Role Cannot be Ignored

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, SCO at 6:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

In the past, the raison d’être of this Web site needed to be explained. There are skeptics around and they are sometimes equipped with false, selective, and/or incomplete information.

Linus Torvalds, like many other developers, prefers to ignore the effects of non-technical issues such as the Novell/Microsoft deal. He is either uninvolved or indifferent. The same goes for some technical writers, apparently. It does not make much sense on the one hand, but on the other hand, you can probably see how programmers get distracted by abuse and sabotage. It is difficult to escape issues that revolve around the technical circles. Should they also ignore the likes of SCO?

There is some detailed information in a response with followups to a somewhat controversial opinion.

Yesterday’s title was “Time to Write About Something Besides Redmond”. I attempted to make a point about moving our attention from non-productive to productive behavior.

Bruce Byfield is no exception. He seems to think that Microsoft’s Linux deals are not a threat, but perhaps he is simply unaware of the deals’ purpose and consequences. The media’s gross bias does not help here. From Bruce’s blog:

Consider, for example, the variety of responses that Microsoft has made to free software in the last year. It’s tried co-opting companies like Novell, Linspire, and Xandros. It’s made unsupported threats about patent violations in GNU/Linux. It’s talked about wanting to cooperate with the free software community. Just ask yourself: Are these the actions of the winning side? Or are they a sign that the company is desperately looking for a winning strategy in a losing fight, or divided internally?

The truth is, free software has come a long way from its days of vulnerability.

Be aware of the scale of damage these Linux deals have brought. To make the argument succinct and easy to consume, a visual mindmap was created. Microsoft would love to see Linux writers claiming victory after the deals and thus remain oblivious to what is actually happening as a result of these deals. Never turn your back on a hostile competitor that has sworn to “slaughter” you. The deals have serious consequences. It’s time to become aware of them.

OOXML Watch: More Deception and More Manipulation, Norway ‘Corrupted’

Posted in ECMA, Europe, Microsoft, Novell, Open XML at 6:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

We are still keeping an eye on behind-closed-doors deals. We see plenty of manipulation which is intended to buy Microsoft’s monopoly some more support. Apart from Novell, Xandros, and Linspire, we have been seeing various countries where support for OOXML was ‘bought’ rather than earned. Groklaw has a batch of recent stories. Among them:

If you read about what happened there in that article, “OOXML in Norway: The haywire process,” your jaw will simply drop. I do think there is something the matter with the ISO process if this is how it works.

To find out more about Norway, read this report.

I believe that anything that sanctions unfair competition is bad. I believe in a world where the threshold for competition is low and where everyone are free to easily innovate.

Instead of (or in addition to) stacking, Microsoft seems to be spawning more support at the 90th. Let’s call it “panel saturation” rather than “panel stacking”. Whatever comes out of this, remember what Microsoft did to get there. People in Groklaw have asked if legal action can be taken. The torrent of public letters protesting against this has not been effective enough.

Related stories:

Lying One’s Way from Loss to Victory

Posted in America, Bill Gates, Deception, Fraud, ISO, Microsoft, Open XML, Steve Ballmer at 5:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Forget about Microsoft top executives manipulating votes through politicians. For a second, forget about endless deception and FUD. But it’s hard, isn’t it?

What we have been been witnessing in recent months seems like nothing short of crime. But crime pays. Lies pay. On the fact of it, Microsoft is successfully bending the vote of the United States government (among others as a possibility). It is not because the government realised something that it had not understood before. It’s not not because OOXML is suddenly seen as acceptable for standardisation. It’s about money, protection, and nepotism.

It appears as though phonecalls from Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates have proven to be effective. They manage to get around the technical committees and talk the launguage which is not technical.

In a reversal, the American representative to the ISO standards body is now tentatively supporting the approval of Microsoft’s Office Open XML document format as an open standard this year.

Ignoring technical debates and turning them into politics is one thing. But what happens when the debates themselves involve bald-face lies? Rob Weir has many examples including a brand-new one.

I just received an email from someone in a national standards committee considering the OOXML ballot, concerning false information given to his committee which suggested the Sept. 2nd ballot deadline was not real, that they actually had 30 more days to decide. I’m not going to name names in this post, but I will say that this isn’t the first note I’ve received regarding such tactics. Some of the other ploys I’ve heard of include…


I’m expecting that such shenanigans are only going to increase as we go into the final week of this 5-month ballot.

We have accumulated many other examples of cases where Microsoft vainly (and knowingly) lied in order to sway votes their way. It is manipulative, it is dishonest, and it should be made illegal. If breaking the law for lockin and monopoly is the way our world is run, then serious system revision is needed. It’s needed now.

Has Microsoft ‘Bought’ the Vote for OOXML in Vietnam?

Posted in Asia, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, Videos at 3:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

There are always reasons to suspect that something is amiss when you spot an exchange of favours and all sorts of special concessions. Some of them come at very critical times, so they are strategic. Sometimes, charitable causes are used as a disguise for a broader and self-centric agenda.

Recall recent stories, including Gates’ involvements in China. A bit of research brought up the following report about Vietnam.

In the context of the many open source national initiatives worldwide along with the pilot OLPC deployments, it should be noted that Microsoft has announced a development initiative for the “billions” of people in developing countries…


I’ll leave it to the readers to draw their own conclusions on this latest turn of events.

There is clearly a great deal of manipulation going on. When the Linux-powered OLPC gains traction, for example, Gates introduces a $3 version of Windows. Vietnam, being a small country, would be an easy target to such manipulations. Its government is not renowned for the best of values, either.

From a Microsoft blog comes the announcement that Vietnam will support OOXML as an ISO standard. This is accompanies by the birth of what is not an anonymous blog, but a Microsoft DPE (i.e. lobbyist) blog whose address is yes2ooxml.blogspot.com/. It comes from Vietnam.

The following video from Vietnam was brought to YouTube a week ago. There is no translation available, but maybe the pictures tell a bit of a story.

The add context to this post, here are some interesting recent stories from Vietnam, whose Free software plan is continuously being subverted by Microsoft and its proxy, the BSA (I have been watching these stories closely for over a year). Be the judge, knowing what we know about Microsoft’s manipulation on OOXML in other countries. The following reports came after many articles (in the English language) about Vietnam adopting GNU/Linux and open source software (they sometimes call it “shareware”).

Microsoft CEO Visits Vietnam

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer witnessed the signing of an agreement Monday requiring all of Vietnam’s government offices to use licensed computer software in a step to curb rampant piracy.

Vietnam Praised for Economic Reforms (another URL)

“Vietnam has demonstrated to the world its capacity for quantum leaps,” said Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer for Microsoft Corp.

“It’s clear that the government has recognized that broad-based reform and economic liberalization are essential to Vietnam’s integration into the global economy,” Mundie said.


The summit has brought fresh opportunities, with Vietnam signing two deals with U.S. companies worth $1.5 billion.

Vietnam is to pay billions of dollars for software copyrights

If office software such as Windows and Office is used, the total amount for 6 million PCs will be 3 billion USD (600 million x 500 USD). And the government may have to pay about 1 billion USD to buy software copyrights for its 2 million employees.

Software copyright purchase: no monopoly in Govt [Vietnam's] agencies

Free open source software is encouraged for use in not only government agencies but in the whole of society as well. The purchase of Microsoft software copyright will help promote the wider use of open source software. If using illegal commercial software without having to pay fees, nobody would think of using open source software.

Intel, whose top executives have close ties with Microsoft, seem to be joining Microsoft in some of their trips to the nation.

Vietnam’s Communist Party gets help from Intel

The Communist Party’s decision to use open-source software matches a wider Vietnamese government effort. In 2004, the government announced plans to promote the use of open-source software in a bid to reduce its IT costs and promote the development of the local software industry.

Intel Raises Vietnam’s High-Tech Profile (another URL)

The latest Intel news, which follows an initial announcement in February to invest $300 million in the factory, comes as Vietnam is working hard to convince foreign companies to put their trust in a country many still equate with war and poverty.

It also is trying to overcome a reputation as one of the region’s worst violators of intellectual property rights. Vietnam has the highest percentage of pirated software in Asia, with copies of Microsoft Corp. operating systems available on the street for a couple dollars.


While the country remains a staunch one-party system, the communist government is opening up and pushing for economic reforms that will lead to a market economy. Vietnam’s fledgling high-tech sector also got a boost in April when Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates visited and was treated like a rock star by hundreds of cheering technology students.


“This is a very positive development, which will help to boost information technology industry in Vietnam in general and the software industry in particular,” said Tran Doan Kim, administrative head of Vietnam Software Association, or Vinasa. “Vietnam’s IT industry badly needs investment from a major foreign investor like Intel or Microsoft.”

Exchange of favours to stifle Free software adoption is one thing, but how about issuing unsubstantiated threats of lawsuits (also in east Asia)?

Evidence We Have About the Novell/Microsoft/Dell ‘Conspiracy’ (and Another New Video)

Posted in Deals, Dell, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Videos at 2:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

On many occasions we were baffled and concerned about Dell joining the Novell/Microsoft alliance. As this old video shows, the entire event remained very quiet and vague. No Q&As and no public contract were made available for assessment.

Then came the theories which were based on some elements of truth. Michael Dell talked about it too and there were elements of FUD to consider.

LinuxWorld’s attendants have produced another piece of evidence to keep in mind. If you skip the first minute or so, you’ll be able to watch the part where Novell and SUSE get mentioned (a teaser about future offerings in China). This is something which was covered here previously (as soon as the announcement was made, in fact).

Other related items:

The links above are just a partial compilation of discussions about the Dell/Novell/Microsoft entanglement. One has to wonder if Microsoft’s goal is to make SUSE Linux the most-widely preinstalled Windows alternative. If that was the ever to become reality, Microsoft would cash in no matter what O/S one chooses.

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