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Microsoft, Novell, SCO, and NASDAQ Delistings

Posted in Finance, Microsoft, Novell, SCO at 8:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The closer one looks, the more gets revealed

There are many dots to connect and many past discussions to combine, so this post will contain many pointers and hints, essentially leaving interpretation to the reader. Whatever you make of this, it seems safe to conclude that we find patterns here. From similarities one can predict just as from history one can learn [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12].

Novell’s Finances

SubSonica points out that shortly before the deal with Microsoft, Novell faced risk of being delisted from the NASDAQ.

IMHO, Novell accepted the pact with the devil due to serious financial problems. The 348 million dollar deal allowed them some relief. Microsoft is very smart when they target struggling companies… the timing was perfect.
Follow the money, ask yourself the right questions:


JUST ONE MONTH before the pact Novell was about to be delisted from Nasdaq and was having problems with the Wells Fargo Bank. I think the re-animator injection of 348 million by Microsoft converted Novell in the perfect zombie to perform its masters at Redmond commands.

The subsequent comments are worth a glance. Shane spotted this last year as well. Particularly interesting was Ron Hovsepian’s financial gain (just shortly after the deal with Microsoft had been signed). For a CEO of a large companies, such transactions would be hard to conceal. Fortunately enough, Shane had his eyes on it. We later drew further conclusions.

”Was Novell cooking the books (the ‘numbers game’)?“SCO entered in the state of bankruptcy after its shares had sunk and Acacia, which we consider to be another Microsoft proxy [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9], recently followed a similar path. What about Novell?

In case you wish to know more about NASDAQ warnings and Novell’s non-compliance in 2007, see [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. Some thought as Novell as a takeover target at that stage and soon afterwards Novell finally complied. Was Novell cooking the books (the ‘numbers game’)? Dana Blankenhorn seems to have scared Novell when it said that the company was merely ‘massaging’ its financial figures (Microsoft, Dell and many others do it as well, but that’s another story). Here is what a knowledgeable reader of this Web site tells us:

Keep in mind that the Nasdaq delisting issue can be justified by Novell merely as a “bureaucratic paperwork deadline problem” (in fact you can see Dell reported in the same situation at some of the news picks)the determinant and differentiating thing here is the clue of the Wells Fargo Bank, according to which, Novell was in default. And look at the figures, 600 million dollars, although I cannot quite grasp the role of Wells Fargo Bank here, I am not very good at English financial terminology, maybe since you are a native English speaker, it makes more sense to you.

With redacted disclosures [1, 2, 3] it’s hard to tell what exactly is/was going on, but clues are just about given away. Shane and I analysed and simplified some of them [1, 2, 3, 4].

It remains a fact that Novell is too Microsoft-dependent (financially speaking, but increasingly on a technical level as well [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33]). A reader of this Web site takes a very wild and speculative guess:

Going further in “black helicopter mode”, It is **my personal impression** that Microsoft might have “virtually” bought Novell (no, serious). If Novells financial situation was bad enough (think about how well corporations can make-up their financial reports, take ENRON as example), maybe they were too easy a target for Microsoft… Novell being “virtually” property of Microsoft inc. might explain many, many things, like the attitude of De Icaza towards the whole issue and the passiveness of Novell’s execs towards Ballmer’s bragging about Gnu/Linux users owing him money but this last paragraph is just pure speculation on my part…time will tell.

Bear in mind that Miguel de Icaza has been helping Microsoft not only in the EU. Recently, Miguel has helped Microsoft resolve ECMA comments. Essentially, as a Novell employee, he actively helps Microsoft getting OOXML approved as an ISO standard. Should one be surprised at all? It’s a rhetorical question. It’s stuff like that which may be one of the reasons SUSE developers abandoned the company.

Novell’s Employment

Over 250 jobs were cut in the past few months [1, 2, 3, 4]. Layoff rumours [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], such as a rumour about the axing of 1,100 Novell jobs, have usually materialised. There are also the large-scale 2005 layoffs. Despite the optimistic outlook from UBS, which might have vested interests, the best advice may be to simply:

Sell Novell

It’s just an honest assessment and an humble opinion. Other people have already said (and we have also speculated) that Novell could be the next SCO [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. If you follow the external links, you’ll find that we are not alone in making such a prediction (maybe even a compelling comparison).

Eyes Back on SCO

Intellectual property litigation and various funding activities appear to have already gone beyond SCO. Speaking of which, SCO insists on carrying on with its trial, despite the setbacks and without selling its assets as some have predicted. At this stage of the trial, this seems rather insane.

Wow. SCO has withdrawn its motion, the “emergency” motion, to sell its assets.

More about this here.

Last month we brought you the astonishing news that someone actually wanted to by SCO, the now-bankrupt perennial thorn-in-the-side of the Linux community. As of today, the joke is again on them, as they’ve had to hightail it in reverse with their tail between their legs.

It was only a week ago that we found Microsoft approaching SCO using a proxy, for financial matters.

“I guess filing as MSLI instead of Microsoft Licensing is like putting on sunglasses, hoping no one will notice you”

How about this recent writeup, which bears the headline “Did Microsoft ruin SCO?”

Which comes to the scenario in mind. Gates approaches McBride and puts forth a proposition that SCO should try and make money out of Linux. He offers to bankroll the operation in a backhanded manner and then steps back to watch the action unfold. His reasoning for doing this? To have a test run before he puts Microsoft through the same paces. Either way he wins.

Never forget what Eric Raymond wrote when he parsed his way through the Halloween Documents.

There you have it. At least a third of SCO’s entire market capitalization, and their entire current cash reserves, is payoffs funnelled from Microsoft. Their 10Qs reveal that every other line of cash inflow is statistical noise by comparison. The brave new SCO source business model is now clear: sue your customers, shill for Microsoft, kite your stock, and pray you stay out of jail.

It would be far fetched to draw similar conclusions about Novell, but the possibility of insiders cannot be easily ignored.

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