News just in…
A press release is making its way through the tubes at the moment (original at microsoft.com). In this public relations ‘stunt’, only Microsoft chose to boast its ‘interoperability’ deal with Novell. The source of the announcement (it doesn’t indicate if it’s a joint PR) says a lot about who benefits from such a patent deal and rest assured, journalist will get persistent prodding from Microsoft to write about how wonderful and rosy the deal has been.
Patents are mentioned in this press release. “Intellectual property” (not the same thing as patents) also. Here’s a fragment:
Having exceeded their original business targets, the companies continue to see strong demand for interoperability and intellectual property (IP) peace of mind.
“The Novell and Microsoft agreement provides Zabka Polska S.A. an interoperability solution incorporating the essential element of intellectual property assurances,” said Maciej Klaskala, chief information officer for Zabka Polska S.A.
An article that has just been published turns the press release into a story explicitly says the the Novell/Microsoft “alliance” (yes, that’s the term used) has been extended.
One year after sealing their surprise alliance, Novell and Microsoft have announced an expansion of their technical collaboration to “link together the existing Windows and Linux frameworks”.
Here is what Mary Jo Foley writes, along with a detailed list of events.
As those who’ve followed in greater depth the twists and turns of Microsoft’s attempts to pressure Linux distribution vendors to pay for alleged infringement on Microsoft patents know, the Microsoft-Novell partnership has not been all smooth sailing. In the past year, here are a few of the related milestones in the Novell-Microsoft relationship that Microsoft isn’t celebrating in today’s press release…
With the word “alliance” (not even “partnership”) making an appearance and revealing the nature of this evolving deal, it is hard to deny the fact that Novell and Microsoft are merely inseparable. They are working together to push all other Linux vendors out of the market, unless those vendors surrender to Microsoft’s ludicrous demands. This sums up one of the troublesome effects of this patent deal. And yes, Ron Hovsepian, it’s a patent deal, so stop denying this already.
Update: now it’s Turbolinux as well.
Linux client and server distributor in Japan and China, Turbolinux, has aligned with Microsoft Corp., in a business agreement that expands their recent collaborations. The deal advances interoperability, furthers research and development collaboration, and provides IP assurances for Turbolinux users.
Given the source of this press release, the date might be incorrect and maybe it’s just the previous announcement. Either way, do not buy anything from companies that take part in this awful scam.
Update #2: mind the good take by Matt Asay.
Actually, this is very surprising. I’ve started to notice a trend in all the announcements the two companies have made over the past year: Novell stresses interoperability while Microsoft beats its drum on patent protection.
I wonder how long Microsoft will continue its efforts to try to cast the deal as about IP. It’s not for Novell, it seems to me now. Microsoft did the deal to hurt Linux – there’s no other explanation for it. It has no fiduciary duty to enable a competitor (unless its a weaker competitor against the Linux market leader, Red Hat). It has a fiduciary duty to kill that competitor.
To answer the question that is also Matt’s headline, it’s a “Microsoft + Novell vs. Mandriva, Red Hat, Ubuntu (and whoever else has not joined the ‘protection racket club’)” deal. Novell isn’t against Microsoft anymore. In fact, Novell depends so much on Microsoft at this stage, so it is willing to actually assist and give way to Microsoft. How ironic and sad.