Novell Enters a Microsoft Partners Triangle

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Novell, Oracle, Red Hat, SLES/SLED at 1:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“That’s always difficult to speak on behalf of a partner [Microsoft]…”

Volker Smid, Novell EMEA General Manager, March 5th 2008

We were not going to mention this SAP product until the weekend, but Matt Asay makes some interesting (and negative) observations. Do have a look.

SAP, Intel, and Novell team up for ERP appliance: What’s the end game?


(As just one data point, Germany is the only country where Alfresco’s open-source content collaboration server runs primarily on SUSE instead of Red Hat.)


If I’m Microsoft, the only prominent Linux distribution I want any of my friends touching is SUSE, given that Ubuntu or Red Hat are a clear and present danger to Microsoft’s Windows monopoly. Novell can’t afford to hurt Microsoft (even if it had the ability to do so): its recent quarterly boosts absolutely depend on being fast friends with Microsoft.

If SAP truly wants to help the SME market, it will take more than a cute ERP-in-a-box. It will require helping to break Microsoft’s monopolies in that market. Cozying up with Microsoft’s Linux distribution won’t help to do so. Pushing Microsoft to open up, as Red Hat, Ubuntu, the European Commission, and others have is the way to free up the market for itself and others.

Remember the tight relationship between Microsoft and Intel. We were last reminded of it very recently. It’s scandalous. SAP is not much of an exception, which might explain the choice of a ‘Microsoft-approved’ Linux distribution (Ballnux).

This development comes amid intensifying talks about the possibility of a Microsoft-SAP takeover. Here is a recent article from the New York Times which advises Microsoft to stalk SAP, not Yahoo.

Having exhausted its best ideas on how to deal with Google, Microsoft is now working its way down the list to dubious ones — like pursuing a hostile bid for Yahoo. Michael A. Cusumano, who has written several books about the software industry and about Microsoft, is not impressed with Microsoft’s rationale for its Yahoo offer. He said the bid seemed to be a pursuit of “an old-style Internet asset, in decline, and at a premium.”

Only about a week ago, SAP and Microsoft entered a healthcare IT partnership. Text below, in full:

Press Release Source:Microsoft Corp.

Microsoft Joins Forces with SAP America for Healthcare IT
Monday February 25, 12:01 am ET

Market strategy launched for Microsoft-based SAP solutions in the healthcare industry.

ORLANDO, Fla., Feb. 25 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Today from the Healthcare
Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) 2008 Conference &
Exhibition, Microsoft Corp. announced it has signed a joint marketing
agreement with SAP America Inc., a subsidiary of SAP AG, through which the
companies have agreed to work together to deliver solutions that meet the
unique needs of the healthcare industry. The companies’ collaboration will
seek to help healthcare organizations increase operational efficiency and
reduce costs using software to automate and streamline processes that are
today often manual or based on cumbersome legacy technology. The companies
will focus their healthcare collaboration activities in the United States.

“Healthcare is a complex industry, with slim margins, tight budgets and
high administrative costs,” said Tim Smokoff, general manager of healthcare
for the Worldwide Public Sector Team at Microsoft. “There is tremendous
opportunity for these organizations to lower those costs and create value
through the power of software. Together with SAP, we want to help the
healthcare industry realize that value.”

The combination of solutions from Microsoft and SAP is proven to reduce
costs and create operational efficiency, with one of the lowest total costs of
ownership on the market today. As an example, with more than 70,000 admissions
per year, Montefiore Medical Center is one of the largest healthcare
organizations in the United States and the dominant medical system in the
Bronx borough of New York City. Working with SAP software enabling technology
and utilizing the Microsoft suite of products for communication, Montefiore
has been able to overhaul and streamline processes related to procurement
including all purchasing activity. Concurrently, Montefiore was able to
transform the institution to an online, real-time financial management system,
including the budget process, significantly reducing the amount of time it
takes clinical and administrative staff to complete non-value activities so
that they can spend more time to support patient care.

“Maintaining accurate, complete, up-to-date information on inventory
levels and materials needs is critical to hospital operations,” said Charles
Agins, vice president of finance, Montefiore Medical Center. “By providing
this information in an easy-to-use format, our associates can enjoy a flexible
work culture and at the same time stay focused on patient care.”

For the healthcare market, SAP and Microsoft will collaborate to leverage
existing technologies including Duet, the joint product from SAP and Microsoft
to provide seamless access to industry-leading SAP business processes and
information via the familiar Microsoft Office environment. Health
organizations stand to gain a great deal by streamlining processes for their
managers with Duet, especially when it comes to people and suppliers.

“SAP helps healthcare organizations integrate industry-specific
administrative processes in order to drive efficiency,” said David Corbett,
vice president of the U.S. Healthcare Practice at SAP America. “Duet is a
great example of the groundbreaking co-innovation between SAP and Microsoft;
though this joint go-to-market initiative, Microsoft and SAP will enable
providers to further streamline processes and drive down costs, all while
improving the overall quality of care.”

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFTNews) is the worldwide leader in
software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their
full potential.

SAP and other SAP products and services mentioned herein as well as their
respective logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of SAP AG in Germany
and in several other countries all over the world.

Any statements contained in this document that are not historical facts
are forward-looking statements as defined in the U.S. Private Securities
Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as “anticipate,” “believe,”
“estimate,” “expect,” “forecast,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “project,”
“predict,” “should” and “will” and similar expressions as they relate to SAP
are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. SAP undertakes no
obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements. All
forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties that
could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations The factors
that could affect SAP’s future financial results are discussed more fully in
SAP’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”),
including SAP’s most recent Annual Report on Form 20-F filed with the SEC.
Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking
statements, which speak only as of their dates.

In this context, the company on the side of Linux (strongly against Microsoft and SAP) is probably Oracle, despite its ambivalent or even conflicting views w.r.t. Free software. When it comes to healthcare, Google is worth a mention as well.

BSoD for Novell

Novell Does Microsoft’s Legwork, Markets Software Patent Deals

Posted in Europe, GNU/Linux, Interoperability, Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 1:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell: everyone should sell out to Microsoft

Microsoft Novell

Just when you think that Novell has decided not to beat that drum anymore, you find it continuing to do so. Speaking to a large audience of clients and journalists, Novell once again refers to the taxoperability program from Microsoft, neglecting to explain what it truly means.

With marketers and friends like Novell, why would Microsoft require deceiving the public itself? It can do so via seemingly hostile proxies, which helps credibility be gained. Here are two new articles about this:

1. Novell execs discuss Microsoft’s interop pledge

A pair of Novell executives Wednesday touted the company’s recent financial performance, but questions during the press conference at Cebit in Hanover, Germany, focused more on Microsoft’s recent, high-profile pledge to improve interoperability and shore up its relationship with the open-source community.

2. Novell execs talk Microsoft interop announcement

“That’s always difficult to speak on behalf of a partner,” said Volker Smid, president and general manager of Novell EMEA. “With Microsoft, interoperability is not limited to the Novell partnership. The infrastructure our joint customers have built is more than just one platform. …What Microsoft has done is an extension of what they’ve done with Novell.”

Since Novell is Microsoft-dependent at the moment and it even markets Windows Vista, nobody should take Novell’s word as independent. Novell is in many ways a Microsoft mouthpiece as it stands. They are business partners now. Even Novell calls them a “partner” (watch the quote above again).

From the OOXML BRM: “I Have Never Seen a Person So Nervous and Ashamed in My Life”

Posted in America, Deception, ECMA, Formats, ISO, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard at 12:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

When the dam of secrets bursts, reality flows

Most people have grown tired of retrospective writeups about the BRM in Geneva [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7], which was a bad idea from the very start [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. However, now that the EU is investigating the abuse not only by Microsoft and ECMA, but at delegation level as well, it is important to have some updates documented.

The first item from from the Brazilian team, whose member reveals just how irregular (or corrupt) the process has been.

This person tried in saying that believes that we should not submit our proposal that asked the mapping, since there was no time at the meeting (just over three hours) to write the mapping document. We’ve said that our proposal stemmed from the premise that the ECMA had this document because they justifies “the need” of OOXML because it supports the binary documents legacy and it is also stated that there are still things that can not be translated (deprecated), they should have thoroughly studied this and at least have made the mapping.

I have never seen a person so nervous and ashamed in my life… He said that Microsoft should have this mapping and if we want, we can ask it to Microsoft but not ask it to ECMA. He said that ECMA was only responsible for creating the new XML schema and who do not have this mapping documentation.

The writer was apparently too worried to write about this due to fear of being sued, but it’s good that such information is out there for Bob Sutor and Groklaw to scoop up and then share.

ISO Statement on the BRM: Public Stay Out


So much for an open standard. I have a question for the ISO. Have all prior meetings been run like this? In the deepest shade you can find? You know they have not, and I know they have not.

So, how about letting us listen to audio of the meeting, so we can compare claims now coming from all sides? There are so many different accounts, and they don’t all sync up. Given that this format, if accepted, will impact us little people, not just a bunch of vendors, how about letting us in enough to make it at least possible to figure out who is telling the truth?

Hey, EU Commission. Did you know that there is reportedly audio made of the BRM meeting?

What was the big secret and is there anything damaging hat has not been leaked out yet?

In any event, another event took place in Geneva and it actually thrived in openness. Here are the conclusions from Open Forum Europe. [thanks to an unnamed reader for the pointer]

Recognising the dangers that loss of Openness of the Internet could mean, the signatories of this Declaration call upon the European Commission, National Governments, Standards Bodies, Industry, the Community and the Market:

* To collaborate such that the Internet remains fully open, without proprietary pressure, and based on Open Standards.

* For clarity within the role of standards bodies to ensure the avoidance of competing standards which will inhibit competition and loss of innovation.

* To mandate the use of Open Standards for interoperability.

* To drive up the quality, transparency and perceived independence of the Standards development and approval process, both at International and National level.

* To establish a clear link between the public interest and work of standardisation bodies.”

This relates nicely to Andy Updegrove’s recent piece about “Civil ICT Standards”, which we wrote about here.

Will Nokia’s Linux-based Internet Tablets Soon Be Infected by Mono, XAML? What About Qt?

Posted in GNOME, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents at 12:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Whose side is Nokia on anyway?

The latest news about Nokia and Microsoft we last covered yesterday and it is worrying to discover that not only Symbian-based handsets will be affected. According to LinuxDevices, Nokia’s Maemo-based (Debian derivative with GTK) Internet tablets — or MIDs as Intel would probably call them — are to be affected as well.

The Finnish mobile-phone giant will add Silverlight support to Symbian S60 smartphones, Series 40 devices, and Linux-based Nokia Internet tablets, it said.

The trouble here is not only the move away from Web standards, but also the licensing restrictions which come with Mono and Silverlight (or Moonlight). Remember attempts to put Mono on LiMo, at spec-level? Curious minds must also consider the possibility that Nokia will try to shove Microsoft’s lockinware or patentware into Qt, which it now owns. KDE ought to keep an eye on Nokia’s recent and future flirts with Microsoft.

Another short article worth mentioning is about Microsoft ‘bribing’ the Library of Congress with what seems like goodwill, but is actually a case of seizing more control.

News Analysis: Does Adobe pay its customers to be customers? Microsoft does.


I won’t get too smarmy about the deal, which could be viewed as Microsoft paying for Silverlight customers. But Microsoft is paying for a big customer, and one that will deliver lots of payback.

We wrote some more about this fiasco in [1, 2, 3]. We still have the British Library and the Boston Public Library to worry about. They are also among Microsoft’s agents of monopolisation. Hopefully, Nokia will not become one of them.

Bad Silverlight

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