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Novell Offshores Some of Its SUSE Operations to East Asia

Posted in Asia, Novell, SLES/SLED at 3:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Taiwan Operations?

Chiang Kai Shek memorial

Summary: SUSE development continues in Taiwan after layoffs in Germany

A YEAR AGO, Ron Hovsepian spoke about moving to the east. According to Reuters, he was bound to spend approximately $100 million on these moves. It obviously requires some great long-term savings to be able to reward him with a huge bonus [1, 2] despite a huge slump.

Earlier this year, Novell fired many of its German employees (about 1 in 5 among the SUSE developers*), but the company seems to be expanding in places where labour is inexpensive, which means it’s likely a case of location-shifting. Novell is merely ‘pulling an IBM’ — a routine where expensive (‘pampered’) employees get axed and then quietly, some months later, the company hires replacements in part of the world where labour if cheaper. Intel and Microsoft do this as well [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], sometimes using the notorious "Abramoff Visa" which they brought about.

There is an article about Novell’s smooth operation in German and many others in English too. Quoting from some of the ‘bigger’ sites:

i. Novell sets up Taiwan netbook Linux R&D team

US-based Novell has established an R&D team specifically for developing Linux operating systems for use in netbook PCs, according to Novell Taiwan.

ii. Novell sets up dedicated Linux netbook team

Novell has set up a dedicated research & development team to work on the development of Linux operating systems on netbooks. Novell Taiwan claims that the team will work in conjunction with Taiwanese netbook manufacturers to develop driver programs and design interfaces to support their hardware.

iii. Novell is reportedly setting up a dedicated team to develop Linux OS for netbooks.

Netbook Choice has reported Novell Taiwan claimed that the team will work in conjunction with Taiwanese netbook manufacturers to develop driver programs and design interfaces to support their hardware.

iv. Microsoft allies seek to undermine Windows in Netbooks, mobile

Not to be outdone, Microsoft’s primary partner for Linux interoperability, Novell, is setting up a Taiwanese R&D team to focus on improving Linux for Netbooks.

If Microsoft can’t count on Novell and its PC manufacturer partners to play nicely, who can it trust?

So, despite the fact that Novell said it would not port SUSE to ARM, it sure seems interested in sub-notebooks in general. But why can’t it allocate the original SUSE developers to handle this work? Are they less qualified for the job? Or just more expensive?
* More layoffs will come soon, based on the earnings call (but it’s not as though Novell neglects SUSE).

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A Single Comment

  1. Shane Coyle said,

    April 4, 2009 at 4:32 pm


    "Pulling an IBM"?

    I think that’s a bit much, it’s not like they’ve patented offshoring…

    Oh, wait.

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