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The Big Australian Press: “Microsoft Has Ruled Out Buying a Linux Company”

Posted in Database, Fork, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, OpenOffice, Oracle, SUN at 12:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

[Correction: the old title mistakenly stated ‘The Big Australian Press: “Microsoft Has Ruled Not Out Buying a Linux Company””. This is an unfortunate error that led to a wrong assumption.]

Gates on SUSE

Summary: Increasing proximity between Microsoft and Novell across publications this week

LAST WEEK, the smaller Australian press suggested that Microsoft might buy Novell. This week, news.com.au cites a top Microsoft executive and here is the summary in bold:

MICROSOFT plans to spend its way out of the recession by developing new products and services but has ruled out buying a Linux company or increasing its stake in Facebook, a senior executive said.


For now, it doesn’t make sense for Microsoft to acquire a firm that deals in open source-based software such as Linux.

But Microsoft had great partnerships with companies such as Novell through interoperability agreements, he said.

A few months ago, Microsoft admitted that Novell was more or less its GPL labourer. Novell is applying changes to GNU/Linux and Free software so as to advance Microsoft’s goals. In return, Novell receives generous payments from Microsoft. It is therefore quite unnerving to find the following in yesterday’s news:

Oracle-Sun deal renews calls for OpenOffice.org’s independence


Michael Meeks, a developer at Novell Inc. who is overseeing Novell’s custom branch of the OpenOffice.org software, is more blunt. “We need to fix the deeply conservative, entrenched group think around development process in the project,” he said. “Currently, we have a total mess in this regard.”

Novell has already begun seizing control of the project [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7], to which it inserted components that strengthen Microsoft’s position in the market.

This involvement from Novell is something to watch out for. Novell wants to do to OpenOffice.org what Monty wants to do to MySQL, but Novell — unlike Monty — is serving the equivalent of Oracle, which competes against Free software.

Let’s not kid ourselves. Microsoft is aggressively boosting Novell and it already gets things in return. Looking at the news, there is some more new evidence this week.

Last week, Sys-Con (Microsoft's anti-Linux PR or planters), the Redmond/Microsoft press, and IDG [1, 2, 3] all promoted Novell and Microsoft. Now we find a new addition to a Microsoft-bent site bearing the headline/title “Advantages of Building Virtual Appliances on SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server.” In the main branch of the same Redmond publisher we find another article that compares Novell to Microsoft (as well as promotes Novell).

The company is also trying to tailor its program to different categories of partners, and if some of what Novell is doing sounds similar to Microsoft’s current and forthcoming partner efforts, that’s no accident-the recently appointed Hale says he’s taken lessons from Microsoft into his new gig.

More of the same in Sys-Con, which has just published:

This vicinity between Novell and Microsoft makes it hard not to become suspicious. Are any more announcements imminent?


“[The partnership with Microsoft is] going very well insofar as we originally agreed to co-operate on three distinct projects and now we’re working on nine projects and there’s a good list of 19 other projects that we plan to co-operate on.”

Ron Hovsepian, Novell CEO

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  1. Gentoo User said,

    April 29, 2009 at 12:34 pm


    Where does it say they have not ruled out… what? It says they have ruled out buying a “Linux company”. It says right there in the article you quoted. Your supporting “argument” about MS buying Novell says nothing of the sort, either. It’s just more ad hominems against Icaza and Friedman.

    I’m sorry if I’m “nitpicking” here, but I just can’t see it. If you want another set of recycled links with editorial spin on the front page, why don’t you just post a list? That sure beats misquoting something on purpose. Doesn’t it?

    JohnD Reply:

    Once again I see Roy has avoided answering a simple question. I think he does it to boost page hits.

    Gentoo User Reply:

    Facts and truth are irrelevant when you’re an “evangelist”.

    JohnD Reply:

    I also have to say that the idea of M$ buying Novell is one of the more inane ideas I’ve read on this site. The US DOJ is not exactly a brain trust, but it would take a monumental act of stupidity to allow a company that has a monopoly, and has been convicted of anticompetitive business practices, to buy it’s way into the the 4% of the market it doesn’t control. The DOJ was smart enough to extend monitoring 18 months since M$ can’t seem to live up to it’s antitrust obligations.
    It would be far easier, and a lot cheaper, to just withdraw from the agreement and let Novell collapse taking Suse with it. Then M$ could focus on RedHat exclusively.

  2. Roy Bixler said,

    April 29, 2009 at 5:51 pm


    I was tickled by the following myself:

    Investing more money and resources in research and development was one way to help the company overcome Google’s dominance in the consumer space, and to counter Oracle’s innovation-through-acquisition approach, Mr Turner said.

    Since when has Microsoft hesitated to “innovate” through acquisition? I don’t recall such a thing, the latest high profile example being their heavyhanded attempts to make a search deal with Yahoo. On the “research and development” bit, Microsoft has always been known as the great intellectual roach motel where great minds go in but nothing comes out. Turner’s quote might mean a change of course or it might mean yet more Redmond vapourware.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Microsoft says so itself:

    “Usually Microsoft doesn’t develop products, we buy products.”

    Arno Edelmann, Microsoft’s European business security product manager

  3. Ed Landaveri said,

    April 29, 2009 at 8:47 pm


    Microsoft “rules out”…Coming from MS spoken persons doesn’t mean anything. Have you seen anyo MS public mouth speak the truth? NEVER!

    The “It would be far easier, and a lot cheaper, to just withdraw from the agreement and let Novell collapse taking Suse with it”- it’s a fallacy. MS needs Novell to do it’s dirty work: Trying to pollute GNU/Linux && FLOSS with mono, and software patents. Withouth Novell they do not have a stand against GNU/Linux && FLOSS, being former it’s main rival according to Ballmer! There you see De Icaza promoting mono while denying what happened to TomTom! Time goes by and he stills avoids the question, coincidence, NO. And these are not ad hominems.

    Personally, I think they will leave things like this for a while. It’s their own convenience. Let Novell pollute GNU/Linux, later we assault them. What they can’t do by delivering quality software will try to do by using software patents, that’s where Novell comes handy.

    JohnD Reply:

    The fallacy is thinking that M$ will be able to destroy Linux by using any means. They may be able to throw up some stumbling blocks, but there is no way they can put the entire community out of business. Any attempt to completely destroy the OS would be seen as a violation of antitrust laws. The most they can do is go after individual companies for specific patents. All it will take is for one company to make a stand and invalidate the patent for the MS house of cards to crumble. Even if there is some merit to the MS infringement claims – the community will work tirelessly to remove any infringing code. Anything that’s added to Linux can be removed.

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