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

03.24.08

How Novell Fell in Love With Its Hitman

Posted in America, Antitrust, Bill Gates, Corel, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Office Suites at 12:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“There are people who don’t like capitalism, and people who don’t like PCs. But there’s no-one who likes the PC who doesn’t like Microsoft.”

Bill Gates

There are corny old stories about people falling in love with their foes or becoming fascinated with stalkers (e.g. James Bond and “the spy who loved me”). In some cases, people develop an obsession for those whom they hate or those hate them. Novell seems to validate some of these bizarre phenomena. Novell, which has a history of being abused and betrayed repeatedly by Microsoft, is quickly getting close to Microsoft. How close? Far more than most observers even care to realise.

“Microsoft uses Novell as a bridge.”BrainShare 2008 may be over by now, but some of the reports stand out because they demonstrate the relationship Microsoft tries to establish not only with Novell, but also with other FOSS and/or Linux companies, by association. Microsoft uses Novell as a bridge. Would you expect Microsoft to stay away from BrainShare (as in, not stick its finger in that pie)? That would be wishful thinking.

Perhaps the biggest shock walking into the exhibitors room at Novell Inc.’s annual conference last week in Salt Lake City was the very prominent booth of Microsoft, emblazoned with the slogan “Interoperability.”

By “Interoperability” they actually mean "Taxoperability". The intent here is to replace opens standards with a monster that enables Microsoft to charge for GNU/Linux, per copy.

In an interview, Ron Hovsepian was asked about the relationship with Microsoft. Watch his response.

At Novell Inc.’s BrainShare 2008 user and partner conference here earlier this week, CEO Ron Hovsepian spoke with Computerworld about a range of issues, including a skills realignment in his company that resulted in 1,000 of his 4,000 employees being replaced in the past year.

[...]

On a scale of 1 to 10, where 5 is “meets expectations,” how would you rate your satisfaction with your interoperability agreement with Microsoft? To date, I would put it at an 8 or a 9. The logic would be, it’s worked out for our customers, it’s worked out technically. The interoperability differentiation has resonated incredibly in the market. And it’s been the proper thing for the company financially as well.

It comes just a couple of days after this antitrust lawsuit made headlines. Visual reminder below.

Jim Allchin on Novell

Another set of fines could — if not should — be expected. Here are some more gory details.

Wacko conspiracy and sour grapes? Not really, as there’s a smoking gun [PDF] in this case, a 1994 email from Bill Gates that outlines just such a plan to withhold the technical information from competitors, noting that their products were superior to Microsoft’s and that, well, cheating was the only way that Microsoft could compete.

Slated.org has the E-mails archived as plain text. The Webmaster brought us an excerpt from it:

Its time for a decision on iShellBrowser

[...]

I have decided that we should not publish these extensions. We should
wait until we have a way to do a high level of integration that will
give Office a real advantage.

[...]

We can’t compete with Lotus and Wordperfect/Novell without this. Our
goal is to have Office’96 sell better because of the shell integration work

Now that Novell and Microsoft are close, one has to wonder about chances of mercy, prospects of pardon. Either way, it would be unfortunate to see Microsoft handing in another financial lifeline to Novell in the form of a fine, assuming it loses the case. It is in Microsoft’s interest to keep Novell going at the expense of other Linux vendors, whose products are not Microsoft cash cows, owing to illegitimacy of software patents and bogus claims. It’s a win-win situation for Microsoft and Novell. They could have money exchanged among themselves, shared for common objectives. without prudent scrutiny.

By the time that e-mail was written in late 1994, WordPerfect was already in trouble. It’s clear, though, that Microsoft had no problem in using its operating system monopoly to kick WordPerfect while it was down. Whether this case goes all the way through trial or is settled out of court, I have a feeling that Microsoft will end up paying for its role in WordPerfect’s downfall.

Matt Asay, bearing OOXML in mind, wrote about the irony in this situation.

“Pearly Gates and Em-Ballmer
One promises you heaven and the other prepares you for the grave. “

Ray Noorda (Novell’s CEO at the time)

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. Erosion of Patent Quality Enables Patent Extortion With Large Portfolios of Low Validity Rate

    Revisiting the EPO's vision of poor patent examination and the effect of discriminatory granting practices, favouring patent bullies such as Microsoft (which actively attacks Linux using low-quality and usually pure software patents)



  2. The EPO's Francesco Zaccà Presenting in Turin Alongside Patent Trolls (Like the Patent Mafia Sisvel) and Lobbyists/Front Groups for Software Patents, UPC

    Benjamin Henrion (FFII) on seeing the EPO alongside patent trolls and other nefarious actors, doing what they do best, which is undermining public interests and harming patent quality



  3. The EPO, USPTO, and Patent Microcosm Peddle Myths About Patents in Public Universities and Research

    Tackling some of the commonly-spread myths about patents as "saving lives" and "promoting research" (in practice leading to the death of poor people and promoting trolls)



  4. Large Corporations' Lobbyist David Kappos Disgraces Former Employer USPTO by Meddling in Their Affairs on Software Patents, Downplaying the Supreme Court

    The latest lobbying from David Kappos, who blatantly exploits his connections in patent circles to promote software patents and work towards their resurgence after Alice v CLS Bank



  5. Journal of Intellectual Property Law and Practice Calls the European Patent Office “Rotten”, Other Sources Scrutinise Recent Moves

    The patent office which was once known for being the best bar none is rotting under the Frenchman Benoît Battistelli, who made himself and his friends the main clients of the Office



  6. PTAB Emerges as Hero of USPTO Because Quality of Patents Improves, Software Patents Are Effectively Dead (or Dying Once Reassessed)

    With help from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) -- not just patent courts -- software patents drop like flies by the thousands



  7. Creative Technology, Now Operating in 'Patent Troll' Mode, Shot Down by the ITC; Jawbone Too Shot Down

    Some good news from the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), which may have put an end to Creative's new war on Android (using old patents)



  8. Corporate Media in India Misrepresents Startups to Push for Software Patents

    A parade of misinformation as seen in Indian (but English-speaking) press this week as questions about patentability of software resurface



  9. Links 25/8/2016: Linux Turns 25, NetworkManager Turns 1.4

    Links for the day



  10. Links 24/8/2016: More From LinuxCon, Uganda Wants FOSS

    Links for the day



  11. Links 23/8/2016: GNOME 3.22 Beta, Android 7.0 Nougat

    Links for the day



  12. The Linux Foundation Gives Microsoft (Paid-for) Keynote Position While Microsoft Extorts (With Patents) Lenovo and Motorola Over Linux Use

    This morning's reminder that Nadella is just another Ballmer (with a different face); Motorola and Lenovo surrender to Microsoft's patent demands and will soon put Microsoft spyware/malware on their Linux-powered products to avert costly legal battles



  13. Not Just President Battistelli: EPO Vice-Presidents Are Still Intentionally Misrepresenting EPO Staff

    Evidence serving to show that EPO Vice-Presidents are still intentionally misrepresenting EPO staff representatives and misleading everyone in order to defend Battistelli



  14. Battistelli the Liar Causes a Climate of Confrontation in French Politics, Lies About Patent Quality (Among Many Other Things)

    Battistelli's lies are coming under increased scrutiny inside and outside the European Patent Office (EPO), where patent quality has been abandoned in order to artificially elevate figures



  15. The Collapse of Software Patents and Patent Law Firms Trying to “Overcome” Alice

    The United States continues its gradual crackdown on software patents (which are viewed as abstract and thus unpatentable), whereas in Europe things are murkier than ever



  16. Apple's Patent Wars Against Android/Linux Make Patent Trolls Stronger

    Apple's insistence that designs should be patentable could prove to be collectively expensive, as patent trolls would then use a possible SCOTUS nod to launch litigation campaigns



  17. Links 22/8/2016: Linux 4.8 RC3, Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” KDE Beta

    Links for the day



  18. Links 21/8/2016: Apple and Microsoft Down, Systemd Spreading to Mount

    Links for the day



  19. Links 20/8/2016: Android Domination, FSFE summit 2016

    Links for the day



  20. Patents Roundup: Trolls Dominate Litigation, PTAB Crushes Patents, Patent Box Regime Persists, and OIN Explains Itself

    Another roundup of patent news from around the Web with special focus on software patenting



  21. The Cost/Toll of the 'New' EPO and Where All That Money Goes or Comes From

    The European Patent Office has become a servant of the rich and powerful (including large foreign corporations) and even its own employees now pay the price associated with misguided new policies (or 'reforms' as Battistelli habitually refers to these)



  22. Links 19/8/2016: Linux Mint With KDE, Linux Foundation's PNDA

    Links for the day



  23. The End of an Era at the USPTO as Battistelli-Like (EPO) Granting Policies Are Over

    The United States is seeing the potency of patents -- especially software patents (which make up much of the country's troll cases) -- challenged by courts and by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB)



  24. Battistelli's European Patent Office Goes to the United States to Speak About the UPC and Software Patents

    The European Patent Office is showing its utter contempt -- not just disregard -- for the very fundamental rules that put it in its place and brought it into existence



  25. Turkey Subjected to the European Patent Convention (EPC) But Benoît Battistelli is Not?

    The ‘constitutional crisis’ at the European Patent Office in the context of Turkey, which has signed "the EPC and as such recognises the competence and the decisions of the institutions which have been introduced in the convention."



  26. Links 18/8/2016: EFF Slams Vista 10, Linux Foundation Makes PNDA

    Links for the day



  27. Links 17/8/2016: GNOME and Debian Anniversaries

    Links for the day



  28. Personal Audio LLC and Patent Troll Jim Logan Demonstrate the Harms of Software Patents and Why They Must Never Spread to Europe

    Jim Logan of Personal Audio (a notorious Texas-based patent troll) is still fighting with his bogus patent, having already caused enormous damage with a single software patent that should never have been granted in the first place (due to prior art, not just Alice)



  29. The Patent Microcosm Hopes That the Originators of Software Patents Will Undermine the Patent Trial and Appeal Board

    Now that the actions of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), which have been consistently upheld by the CAFC in precedential decisions, are suddenly being questioned the patent microcosm gets all giddy and tries to undermine PTAB (again)



  30. That Time When the Administrative Council Helped Battistelli Crush Oversight (Audit Committee) and What ILO Said About It a Month Ago

    Things are becoming ever more troublesome at the EPO as the Administrative Council enjoys inaction from the International Labour Organization (ILO), in spite of its role in destroying much-needed oversight at the behest of Battistelli


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