EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

11.30.07

Novell OpenOffice.org, $348 Million, and the Story Nobody Covered

Posted in Apple, Deals, Finance, GNU/Linux, Linspire, Microsoft, Novell, Turbolinux at 2:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Or Novell’s equivalent of “Mac Office, $150 Million, and the Story Nobody Covered

This post was made possible thanks to a suggestion passed by a reader, who wishes to remain anonymous. He points out the resemblance between a decade-old Apple/Microsoft patent collaboration deal and the one Microsoft has with Novell.

The article “Mac Office, $150 Million, and the Story Nobody Covered” is not new, but nonetheless it’s interesting to look at the details one year after the Microsoft/Novell deal. One year ago we highlighted some similarities to the Apple deal and shortly afterward mentioned it again in the context of Corel. At the time, we did not know enough about the role of OpenOffice.org in this deal though.

Let’s go through the article and extract some points which are made about the Apple/Microsoft deal. We’ll comment about each of them in turn.

In July of 1997, the ongoing rivalry between Apple and Microsoft appeared to vanish with the announcement a new cooperative partnership that included:

1. a cross licensing agreement
2. a five year deal for continued development of Office for the Mac platform
3. the designation of Internet Explorer as the default Mac web browser
4. a small but symbolic $150 million investment by Microsoft in Apple

Sounds familiar? Well, point (1) is exactly what we find in the Microsoft/Novell deal. The patent promise was due to expire within 5 years.

In some of the other Microsoft deals (Turbolinux and Linspire at the very least), Microsoft products got embedded in the rival’s software, as in point (3) above. That serves Microsoft monoculture ambitions (de facto software and services).

The investment that is mentioned in point (4) can be equated to Microsoft paying Novell $348 million. Microsoft might argue that it’s due to cross-licensing imbalance, but Jeremy Allison opinies that Microsoft just needed to pay Novell to swallow a bug (analogy from an old interview).

Why did Microsoft invest millions in a partnership with its most obvious remaining competitor in the desktop operating system market?

In the case of Novell, that would be the Microsoft API (.NET/Mono), OOXML, software patents, FUD, and an ‘anti-Red Hat alliance’.

According to common legend, Microsoft was forced to pump millions in Apple to prop up the struggling rival as an apparent competitor to fool the Feds, who were hot on its tail leading up to the monopoly trial.

The government’s oversight is nearly ending (2007), so Microsoft must avoid extensions at all costs. The deal with Novell could truly get the Federal government off Microsoft’s back.

In addition to serving as an antitrust ruse, analysts, columnists, and sensationalists of all stripes have chimed in to add extra flourish to the legend of Apple’s rescue.

Equate this to the illusion that Microsoft had the upper arm ahead of the disaster called Windows Vista and litigation in Europe. From a technical perspective, SUSE Linux may have been more interesting than Windows Vista.

Legend Becomes Myth

As noted in Paul Thurrott’s Merciless Attack on Artie MacStrawman, it is fashionable among Microsoft apologists to insist that the company bailed Apple out in an altruistic act of compassion, and that any success now enjoyed by Apple should rightfully be delivered to Microsoft in tribute.

Microsoft ‘collaborates’ with Linux. How ‘kind’ of them. Patent tax, patent FUD, and OOXML forcefeeding come to mind.

Even doing very little, Microsoft could still make lots of money, keep Mac Office releases out of sync and well behind the Windows version, create compatibility barriers between the two Office platforms, and continue to leave long delays between releases.

That would enable Microsoft to slide along on fat Mac Office profits without much work, and would direct attention toward Windows, which would “obviously run popular programs like Office better!”

Think about OOXML and macros in OpenOffice.org, which are only available for Windows, not Linux. How convenient a way to suppress the adoption of GNU/Linux.

Microsoft had repeatedly used threats to delay or hamstring the next version of Mac Office as a bargaining tool against Apple.

The dependency has turned Novell into an obedient sockpuppet. Novell is Microsoft-dependent now.

Setting its products up as the default, pre-installed software choice was the whole basis for Microsoft’s monopoly business model. The company wanted to use the Mac platform to establish Internet Explorer and kill Netscape’s browser, ensuring that all web applications would need to be compatible with Internet Explorer, and thus providing a reason to buy Microsoft’s Internet Information Server product, and Windows NT servers to run it.

The deals with Linspire and Turbolinux contain elements that help Microsoft complete with Google. These companies link to Microsoft’s online services. Other elements, such as hijack of the Web with XAML, is something which Moonlight (via Novell) takes care of.

While Microsoft positioned Internet Explorer as a primary issue in its negotiations with Apple, the real reason Microsoft agreed to commit to Mac Office and lend some symbolic support for Apple with a stock purchase was to resolve outstanding patent issues.

Remember Microsoft’s deal with Corel, recall the ownership history of WordPerfect and then consider prior art and patents.

Microsoft paid Novell $539 million to settle its antitrust suit over the NetWare operating system, and Microsoft is still being sued by Novell over claims related to WordPerfect.

To sum up, Novell escapes litigation scrutiny in Europe, oversight in the United States, and legal issues involving Novell. Such deals have only one clear winner — Microsoft.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Links 3/7/2015: KDE Applications 15.04.3, Ubuntu-Flavored Compute Stick

    Links for the day



  2. Patent Lawyers and Their Firms, Still Desperate to Protect the Status Quo, Manipulate the Media

    Patent lawyers are besieged by gradual tightening of patent scope and recklessly fight back (e.g. by saturating the media) to secure their revenue sources, derived from (and at the expense of) actual scientists and true market producers



  3. Amid Controversy, Political Scrutiny and Increased Media Pressure Željko Topić and Benoît Battistelli Allegedly Cancel Today's Trip to Zagreb (Croatia) Where Topić Faces Many Criminal Charges

    The Croatian press comments on the recent declaration from the Council of Europe and Topić's not-so-sterling status in his home country, where he is wanted for alleged crimes



  4. Microsoft Gradually Embraces, Extends, Extinguishes Linux Foundation as a Foundation of GNU/Linux

    By liaising with (or hijacking) existing members of the Linux Foundation, as well as by paying the Linux Foundation, Microsoft turns the Linux Foundation into somewhat of a Windows advocacy group



  5. Microsoft India Still Lobbies and Lies About Free Software in Order to Knock Down Policy That Favours Free Software

    Microsoft continues to bully Indian politicians who merely 'dare' to prefer software that India can modify, maintain, extend, audit, etc.



  6. Patent Lawyers and Corporate Media Nervous About New Patents Barrier/Reality (Less Patents on Software and Business Methods)

    The rich and the powerful, as well as their lawyers (whose job is to protect their money and power by means of government-enforced monopoly), carry on whining after the Alice case, in which many abstract patents were essentially ruled -- by extension -- invalid



  7. Translation of Pierre-Yves Le Borgn' Speech Against EPO Management and New Parliamentarian Interventions

    More political fire targeting the EPO's management, adding up to over 100 parliamentarians by now



  8. Links 2/7/2015: KDE Plasma 5.3.2, antiX 15

    Links for the day



  9. Links 1/7/2015: OpenDaylight Lithium, OpenMandriva Lx 2014.2

    Links for the day



  10. Munich Press, Münchner Merkur, Slams the Munich-based EPO

    Pressure on Benoît Battistelli to leave (or be fired) grows as the cronies whom he filled his office with have become a huge public embarrassment to the decades-old European Patent Office



  11. The Shameless Campaign to Paint/Portray Free Software as Inherently Insecure, Using Brands, Logos, and Excessive, Selective Press Coverage

    Some more FUD from firms such as Sonatype, which hope to make money by making people scared of Free/libre software



  12. National Insecurity and Blackmail, Courtesy of Microsoft

    British members of parliament (MPs) outsourced their communication to the number one PRISM company and they are paying the price for it; The US Navy's systems continue to be unbelievably insecure (Windows XP), despite access to the world's biggest nuclear arsenal



  13. Microsoft Keeps Shrinking

    As the era of shrink-wrapped software comes to an end so does Microsoft, whose effort to become a 'cloud' company with online operations has been miserable at best



  14. They 'R' Coming: More Microsoft Money for the Linux Foundation

    The problem with having Microsoft in a Linux Foundation initiative, the R Consortium



  15. Speculations About the EPO's Possible Role in DDOS Attacks

    Readers' views on who might be behind the attacks on this site amid confirmation that it's on the 'targets' list of the EPO



  16. Links 30/6/2015: Linux Mint 17.2, OpenMandriva

    Links for the day



  17. Techrights Confirmed as a Target of EPO Surveillance, With Help From Control Risks Group (CRG)

    Unveiling the cloak of secrecy from long-term surveillance by the European Patent Office (EPO) and a London-based mercenary it hired, bypassing the law



  18. Google's Fight to Keep APIs Free is Lost, Let's Hope Google Continues Fighting

    SCOTUS refuses to rule that APIs cannot be considered copyright-'protected', despite common sense and despite Java (which the case is about) being Free/libre software



  19. Patent Trolls in the Post-Alice World

    A round-up of news about patent trolls in the United States, some of whom are are doing well and some of them not as well



  20. DDOS Attacks Against Techrights

    Information about some of the most recent DDOS attacks against this Web site and the steps to be taken next



  21. The Patent System Not What it Used to be, Large Corporations and Patent Lawyers the Principal Beneficiaries

    A look at some recent patent stories and what can be deduced from them, based on statistics and trends



  22. After Intervention by the Council of Europe Comes a Detailed Summary of the Situation in the European Patent Office (EPO)





  23. IRC Proceedings: May 31st - June 27th, 2015

    Many IRC logs



  24. Links 28/6/2015: Manjaro Linux Cinnamon 0.8.13, VectorLinux 7.1

    Links for the day



  25. Williamson v. Citrix Online (at CAFC) Reinforces Alice v. CLS Bank (at SCOTUS) in Crushing Software Patents

    More patent news from the United States, again serving to indicate that software patents over there are getting weak (harder to defend in court or acquire from the patent office)



  26. Proskauer Rose LLP is Cherry-Picking Cases to Make Software Patents Seem Eligible Despite Alice v. CLS Bank

    Naming and shaming those who are trying to reshape the consensus despite a rather consistent pattern of software patents being rejected



  27. IAM Biased: How IAM 'Magazine' Glorifies Patent Stockpiling

    A look at the bias of one of the most overzealous sites for and by patent lawyers



  28. PATENT Act No Longer in the News... and That's Just Fine

    Putting the PATENT Act aside for the time being, for it has little or no impact on the really problematic patents



  29. The Latest Lies From Microsoft's PR Apparatus/Public Face, Mr. Nadella

    Having spread the outrageous lie that “Microsoft loves Linux” (whilst obviously attacking it in many ways), Microsoft's CEO (essentially Bill Gates' right-hand man) says Microsoft is “one of the biggest contributors to Linux kernel” (because of proprietary software it tries to contaminate it with while violating the terms of the GPL)



  30. Microsoft Jack (Schofield) Promotes Microsoft's Proprietary Lock-in and Calls People Who Recommend Free/Libre Software 'Trolls'

    Jack Schofield, writing for a Bill Gates-funded paper despite claiming to have retired, promotes Microsoft Office and insults all those readers who do not agree with him


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts