09.21.07

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How Novell and Others Were “Bought Out” by Microsoft

Posted in Deals, Interoperability, Microsoft, Novell, Protocol, Samba, Servers, SUN at 1:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The price tag of corporate suicide

The idea of buying out your competitor or making money from a rival’s sales is not new. The Comes vs Microsoft case (in Iowa) had that mentioned and we continue to see that pattern to this date. Only last month, in fact, it was XenSource.

Groklaw has the text from a new group interview about protocol licensing, interoperability, the ruling in Europe, and more. Here’s a summary:

Sometimes folks try to characterize, or mischaracterize, the FOSS community. If you want to know what that community is like, it’s like this, this interview, these four men who dared to try the impossible, with weapons of intellect and skill and integrity rather than money, men who couldn’t be bought, who never gave up, and who happily lived to tell us the story with humor and pleasantness.

[...]

Georg Greve: 3.6 billion, I think, is the final count at some point. For Sun, for Novell, for Real, for the CCIA. I mean, they were all bought out of the case.

Remember that Samba rejected buyout attempts. Also consider Mary Jo Foley’s analysis of this discussion.

Greve noted that by the time of the September 17 Court decision, Microsoft had “bought out” most of the companies who originally wanted the protocol information, specifically Novell, Sun and the Computer and Communications Information Association (which represented a number of Microsoft’s rivals). As a result, the only vendor who has been advocating actively for access to Microsoft’s protocols is Samba.

When money is permitted to stifle fair competition, everyone loses. With Novell, the customer and the developer lose. Only the management wins by making monetary gains (the consequences of “selling out”).

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2 Comments

  1. Anon said,

    September 21, 2007 at 10:43 pm

    Gravatar

    > With Novell, the customer and the developer lose. Only the
    > management wins by making monetary gains (the consequences of
    > “selling out”).

    Not true at all. If you follow along on some of the irc channels on GimpNet, you’ll quickly discover that since the MS/Novell deal, the “free software” departments within Novell have grown. As also mentioned elsewhere, it seems likely that they’ve also used that money toward opening AMD-ATI’s video drivers and many other things as well.

    I think it’s a bit hard to argue that Novell “selling out” hasn’t helped the community by the boatload.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 22, 2007 at 12:15 am

    Gravatar

    Don’t give Novell too much credit for the drivers.

    More and more companies are moving towards Free software. Hardware makers begin to support Linux at a level of parity w.r.t. Windows and many of them have even gone Open Source. AMD is a recent example. It’s not too obvious whether Google, Novell, Dell, someone else, or a combination thereof was the force behind AMD’s move. I’ve tracked this for a while and I think there’s something that predates the words from Henri Richard, who talked about the open source drivers in a conference about 3-4 months ago. There were lots of small hints and surely a lot of influence from all sorts of directions.

    I am still trying to pressure NVidia, by the way, along with other people. It’s down to the people at the top, who sometimes don’t even understand these technical things. It’s about politics, image, perception…

    Intel and AMD have moved on the the future… while you, the small company, are the only one left in the past. And your drivers are not secure because they are closed.

    Inciting fear in a polite way might be ineffective, but I don’t think it does harm.

    Still waiting for NVIdia to join the 21st century….

    Either way, I doubt Novell was the main driver in this move by AMD. It was virtually silent prior to AMD’s announcement, which I knew about prior to others (inside information).

    Some of Novell’s gifts make it Greek (to spin the old saying), Such ‘gifts’ include XAML and OOXML, both of which are proprietary, Windows-centric, and this Linux hostile.

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