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11.03.07

Novell’s Bundling of Patent ‘Protection’ :: Analogies (Plus Videos)

Posted in Interoperability, Microsoft, Novell, OpenSUSE, SLES/SLED, Videos at 8:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

There are two ways of looking at the problem which Novell has introduced for its Linux rivals to cope with.

Overwhelming Contracts

Bundling is a very interesting business strategy and it’s not an alien concept. It’s everywhere. In many cases it also become an anti-competitive problem. Consider for example the following old debate which primarily surrounded the stubborn inclusion of Internet Explorer in Microsoft Windows.

If one has doubts about Microsoft breaking antitrust laws, this one Charlie Rose video (among many more from that period of time) should be of use.

With the notion of bundling in mind, it is worth expanding. What Novell has built (along with Microsoft) is a trap. It’s not a catch 22 because there are alternative Linux distribution.

“Novell and Microsoft have already decided for them.”Whether a Novell customer actually wants ‘protection’ or not and whether the need for ‘protection’ is acknowledged or not, when one buys Novell, there is an implicit nod. The ‘protection’ is essentially bundled. For similar reasons we discourage the use of OpenSUSE. Novell found a way to bundle guilt and to have that guilt translated into FUD. This FUD is used as a marketing tool not only by Microsoft, but also by Novell.

At the end of the day, everyone but Novell and Microsoft suffers. It does not matter what SUSE users and customers actually think. Novell and Microsoft have already decided for them. It actually gets much worse when Novell/Microsoft marketers hijack the voice of their customers and misrepresent them.

There is a nice video that illustrates some of these problems. It’s the “Bundling Bummer (or Scam)”. You pay for one thing and you are forced to get many other things you do not require.

Exclusionary Contracts

Exclusionary contracts are another interesting issue. As we have said many times before, Novell’s deal with Microsoft shuts out Novell competitor out of the market, to an extent. Certain things will work ‘better’ in SUSE and will not be allowed to work entirely (if at all) in Linux distributions other than Novell’s.

There are analogies that can be used here, such as the agreement Apple had with AT&T, among other telecommunication companies around the world. Apple made exclusionary deals and the contract is draconian. It restricts choice. It brings benefit to only a pair of companies and ‘punishes’ both the consumer and the market as a whole.

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