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 in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

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. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, February 24, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, February 24, 2021



  2. Links 25/2/2021: Kali Linux 2021.1, Wine Launcher 1.4.46, and Google's Security Posing

    Links for the day



  3. Links 24/2/2021: MariaDB 10.5.9, Krita 4.4.3 Beta, and Debuginfod Server for Debian

    Links for the day



  4. Self-Host Your Videos, Take Full Advantage of HTML5 and Video Attributes

    For self-hosting of videos over the World Wide Web (Gemini too can handle videos; its clients/browsers can, for example, link video files/URLs to external media players) it's worth reviewing the full set of features made available by the standards because a lot can be accomplished without JavaScript and without unnecessary bloat/complexity



  5. Trying Out NoiseTorch to Reduce Background Sound/Noise in GNU/Linux

    An introduction to noisetorch (or NoiseTorch), an application that helps create virtual microphones/devices with reduced background noise



  6. How the Big Banks and OIN Can Whitewash Software Patents and Do Nothing Concrete About Patent Trolls

    Response to the puff piece entitled "How the Big Banks and OIN Can Lock Out Patent Trolls with Enabled Publications"



  7. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, February 23, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, February 23, 2021



  8. How to Set Up a Gemini Server of Your Own, Even on a Simple Single-Board Computer

    Using Agate to start one's own Gemini capsule (self-hosted) is a lot simpler than one might be inclined to believe; this is a detailed HOWTO, hoping to encourage more people to join Gemini space, which is fast-growing and free of garbage



  9. Links 23/2/2021: Tails 4.16, Libinput 1.17, Fwupd 1.5.7, Firefox 86, NeoChat 1.1

    Links for the day



  10. The Word Master is Not Problematic in Most Contexts and Its Origin Hasn't a Connection to Slavery

    Slavery is to the word "master" mostly disconnected; it might, however, be closely connected in the minds of racists or the agenda of highly racist corporations (profiting from racism) that look for ways to distract from their racism



  11. On Misapplication, Misuse, Overuse and Abuse of Words (to Suit False Narratives)

    It is looking like the word "abuse" has been extended to basically mean all sorts of things including the act of actually exposing real abuse



  12. The Administrative Council Needs to Fix the EPO While It's Still Possible

    EPO staff and former staff (pensioners) aren't happy and the it's the responsibility of the Administrative Council to do something before it's too late (the reputation of the Office is already severely harmed and it's unable/unwilling to recruit suitable and qualified people, both as examiners and managers, respectively)



  13. 'These Questions Remain Unanswered': Campinos Became Battistelli Just Halfway Through His Term

    The Central Staff Committee of the EPO highlights the grim situation or the deadlock reached after totally dysfunctional Office management somehow managed to kill off channels of communication, in effect going back to where things were back in 2018 under Battistelli



  14. 'The One Percent': Salary Adjustment Procedure (SAP) Supported Only by 1% of EPO Staff

    Out of 2,237 EPO workers who expressed their position on the SAP, which in essence lowers their salary, only 31 expressed support for it (that's 1.385%)



  15. IRC Proceedings: Monday, February 22, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, February 22, 2021



  16. DDOS Attacks and Decentralisation

    Our server, which is shared among sites, has been under persistent distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks almost every day in recent weeks, culminating in much worse attacks last night, but we're not too worried anymore



  17. Links 23/2/2021: Gemini (and Gopher) on the Rise Again, Systemd 248 Reaches RC1

    Links for the day



  18. On the Terms Master, Main and Abuse

    Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock



  19. Microsoft Inside — Part IV: Microsoft Everywhere, Looking to Poach Developers, Not Disclosing What It Really Wants

    As it turns out, just about everyone looking to recruit for a Microsoft-connected project/company (working on Raspberry Pi, Ubuntu etc.) near Microsoft is 'former' Microsoft, but people who are being approached aren't being told so, at least not upfront; those are very familiar and old tactics, which merit a word of caution to all



  20. Microsoft: We Ain't Done Until Raspberry Pi Won't Run (Anything But Our Proprietary Software With 'Telemetry' Surveillance)

    The ongoing series which we started yesterday and still publish today (about Microsoft recruiters) shows that Microsoft has rather toxic ambitions and the general idea is to infect everything with Microsoft, even the things that compete against Microsoft



  21. Controlling the Conduct of Large Corporations (and Monopolies) Would Help Tackle Disproportionate and Asymmetric Power Structures

    A "CoC" (Code of Conduct) is often crafted or drafted with good intentions; but with enforcement put in the wrong hands it is a tool of corporate oppression instead of protection of people's dignity



  22. Another Reason to Boycott Microsoft/GitHub: The War on Reverse-Engineering

    The high-profile fan-made reverse-engineering efforts are being proactively censored by Microsoft on behalf of another company (without as much as due process), reaffirming the problematic nature of GitHub, a monopoly that represses Free software developers



  23. Links 22/2/2021: Lots More About Linux on Mars, Release of 4MLinux 35.2

    Links for the day



  24. Microsoft Inside — Part III: Microsoft Finds Out That Free Software Developers Don't Want to Work for Microsoft on Microsoft Platforms

    The attempts to poach high-profile Free software and GNU/Linux developers aren't succeeding, especially once it turns out who's really behind those attempts (they don't give it away upfront)



  25. Techrights is Now in Gemini (Having Completed a Two Week-Long Migration) With Over 32,000 Pages in Total

    The site is now mirrored across an alternative to the World Wide Web



  26. Links 22/2/2021: Cherry Pi PC and Release of Xfce Panel Profiles 1.0.13

    Links for the day



  27. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, February 21, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, February 21, 2021



  28. The Focus on Delivery Style Rather Than the Substance is an Extension of Cancel/Censorship Culture

    Don't look away because some bits of information are new and unfamiliar; there is always suppressed information and companies tend to pay publishers to publish material contrary to what is true (to seed confusion and urge for a false sense of "balance")



  29. Microsoft Inside -- Part II: Microsoft Has Plans for the Raspberry Pi or Linux SBCs in General (and It Hides Its Role in That)

    Some 'former' Microsoft employees are looking to hire GNU/Linux developers/employees without revealing who they are and who they still work with (Microsoft)



  30. Links 22/2/2021: Oracle Solaris 11.4 SRU30 and Lubuntu in Focus

    Links for the day


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

Recent Posts