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Survey: Novell Likely to be Acquired (by Microsoft?)

Posted in Deals, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Red Hat, Ubuntu at 5:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Most Likely Not to Survive 2009

Novell is recruiting and appointing Microsoft employees or Microsoft-sympathetic figures to occupy top positions. At the same time, it viciously fights Microsoft rivals like Sun and Red Hat whilst veteran Novell engineer, Greg K-H, chooses to throw mud at Ubuntu/Canonical.

It’s not exactly shocking that, based on this new survey, Novell may not survive for more than 12 months. It still operates at a loss.

Watch Novell…

#1 among technology companies… as one which is likely not to survive this year.

Novell in survey
Novell positioned ‘number one’ in badness league (they even
chose a colour scheme to suit ours)

People have already explained the rationale of Microsoft buying Novell, so this is neither far fetched nor a figment of our imagination. We wrote about this roughly half a dozen times over the past 2 years. Since then, Novell has readjusted its roadmap so as to focus more on Microsoft technologies, i.e. technical alignment. [Hat tip: Lyle Howard Seave]

Microsoft Novell

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  1. The Mad Hatter said,

    January 12, 2009 at 7:22 pm


    I would have said SCO myself, but considering how they keep managing to find money under rocks, and that they have nothing which would make them worth purchasing, I guess that they might make it into 2010.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 12, 2009 at 7:41 pm


    I have a good update about SCO coming, but I’ll do it tomorrow because the server is on its knees (Slashdot effect) and I can hardly get pages to load up.

  3. Victor Soliz said,

    January 12, 2009 at 8:35 pm


    SCO filled bankruptcy last year so they wouldn’t really make good article material.

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 12, 2009 at 8:39 pm


    I’d like to at least keep track of their mischiefs. :-)

    Groklaw will possibly resume and without Groklaw it’s hard to tell what’s going on because it’s a low-profile case.

    The site will hopefully be responsive again some time later tonight. I used Coral to lower the load right from the start, but it wasn’t enough to endure the rush.

  5. The Mad Hatter said,

    January 12, 2009 at 8:51 pm


    Yes, the server does seem to be overloaded. I’ve had problems reading articles here today, even during working hours (I was off work today).

  6. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 12, 2009 at 8:54 pm


    I put it on Coral, but it was too much. I did the best I could though, so no regrets are necessary.

    Maybe we just need to move to a stronger server.

    I think that on the busiest day we clocked almost 20GB in one day (last year), excluding traffic on the mirrors.

  7. Ian said,

    January 12, 2009 at 9:42 pm


    Since then, Novell has readjusted its roadmap so as to focus more on Microsoft technologies, i.e. technical alignment.

    Aside from Mono, which is a minuscule if not none existent part of Novell’s money making product lines, what have they exactly lined up? If you’re talking about strategic alignment, just keep something in mind, most of what Novell makes money from is in direct competition with Microsoft offerings.

  8. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 12, 2009 at 10:01 pm


    It has a decreasing impact though. For Microsoft, buying out the WordPerfect case would be desirable.

  9. ushimitsudoki said,

    January 12, 2009 at 10:56 pm


    I don’t expect Microsoft to buy Novell.

    First off, I don’t think Microsoft can directly use Novell more effectively than it can indirectly use Novell. Microsoft is quite satisfied with Novell’s constant support and assistance in spreading Microsoft technology throughout the Open Source ecosystem. It enhances Microsoft’s message that they are an Open Source-friendly company and it gets their technology into the minds and machines of people who wouldn’t touch a Microsoft product if it was clearly labeled one.

    Buying Novell can’t do this any *better*, it would just make it more transparent. Consider how many people would be gung-ho about promoting mono/moonlight if it came straight from Microsoft, rather than through Novell.

    Second, I don’t think Microsoft wants to *own* anything Novell has – or at least not enough to make it worth buying. Microsoft doesn’t care to *buy* competitors to Windows/Office – it wants to *destroy* them. At best, it wants to incorporate any ideas directly into Microsoft products and discard the shell.

    Novell doesn’t really offer anything Microsoft doesn’t – it just offers *alternatives* to Microsoft’s offerings. And Microsoft isn’t really big on that. And what it does offer may already be under some license or agreement that Microsoft finds disagreeable. It’s not enough for Microsoft to own a technology, they have to also make sure they can wield that ownership against others.

    So, how would it benefit Microsoft to directly own Novell? Novell is already doing just about everything Microsoft could hope for. Novell constantly attacks other Open Source companies, spreads Microsoft technology, and sows division and discontent in the community. Microsoft couldn’t get away with that behavior, but Novell can. Novell can hang around for quite some time and serve Microsoft’s purposes – Microsoft can always purchase a new round of vouchers if cash gets too low.

    Funding Novell is basically an advertising budget line item to Microsoft.

  10. Jose_X said,

    January 13, 2009 at 3:22 am


    >> Novell doesn’t really offer anything Microsoft doesn’t – it just offers *alternatives* to Microsoft’s offerings.

    As an alternative possibility to what you wrote, we might instead find:

    Microsoft wants Novell’s business customers, but they can get it cheaper than through buying Novell. Think of pirates. Why buy that ship on the high seas (if you aren’t interested in more ships) when you can assail it, mount it, and rob it of all its really important valuables?

    Channel partners will be pulled towards Pirate Microsoft, and Pirate Microsoft sympathizers aboard Novell (including those who mounted the ship) will help out.

    Later, Pirate Microsoft just leaves the leftover carcass hull while it further takes numerous key employees on board the Pirate Microsoft ship.

    Oh, prior to leaving Novell for good, Pirate Proxy may come in and buy up the Linux assets for cheap.. that is if Pirate Microsoft prefers to use some other proxy (like Pirate Proxy) to do Novell’s proxy work. [Pirate Proxy might be a private company managed by ex softies.]

  11. mpz said,

    January 13, 2009 at 3:58 am


    Well, Novell ‘owns unix’ don’t they? They think they do anyway. They have a decent patent portfolio – that is afterall why MS are paying them, I guess.

    Probably still be here all of 2009 – unless they get some rogues running the ship who just want to strip it’s assets for cash.

  12. SubSonica said,

    January 13, 2009 at 4:19 am


    About Novell being acquired (either by Microsoft or others -by proxy, for example even in the shape of a merger-), people working inside the companies and industry can “smell” these movements (by being witness of execs movements, meetings, comments) months in advance of the general public and even the press knows about it…

    What is striking of channel insider’s prediction (last slide) is that it openly portrays Novell as a zombie, puppet (“satellite”) company artificially mantained alive in the market solely at the will and to serve Microsoft’s best interests…

    “it is in Microsoft’s strategic interest to keep Novell in play as a satellite entity to help slow Red Hat’s momentum”

  13. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 13, 2009 at 4:51 am


    I agree that Novell is more useful to Microsoft as an isolated company — for now.

  14. Shane Coyle said,

    January 13, 2009 at 7:34 am


    Isn’t there a way or plugin in WP to create a static version of the page for Slashdotting – at least it would decrease the thrashing of the DB on every visit…

  15. SubSonica said,

    January 13, 2009 at 8:53 am


    WP-caché, I guess…


  16. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 13, 2009 at 9:00 am


    Shane, be careful installing new plugins. It was flaky the last time I tried. Compatibility is an issue too because we’re on LTS (up to date).

  17. Victor Soliz said,

    January 13, 2009 at 7:33 pm


    I don’t expect Microsoft to buy Novell.

    First off, I don’t think Microsoft can directly use Novell more effectively than it can indirectly use Novell.

    I think you meant viceversa, right?

    Novell owns Unix.

  18. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 13, 2009 at 7:35 pm


    With the mythical stolen code in Linux.


  19. ushimitsudoki said,

    January 13, 2009 at 9:24 pm



    No, I mean that Novell is more useful right now to Microsoft in its current role as cat’s-paw.

  20. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 14, 2009 at 5:10 am


    SJVN said the same thing a few weeks ago. This may change some time down the line.

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